Priming maize resistance by its neighbors: activating 1,4-benzoxazine-3-ones synthesis and defense gene expression to alleviate leaf disease.
ABSTRACT: Plant disease can be effectively suppressed in intercropping systems. Our previous study demonstrated that neighboring maize plants can restrict the spread of soil-borne pathogens of pepper plants by secreting defense compounds into the soil. However, whether maize plant can receive benefits from its neighboring pepper plants in an intercropping system is little attention. We examined the effects of maize roots treated with elicitors from the pepper pathogen Phytophthora capsici and pepper root exudates on the synthesis of 1,4-benzoxazine-3-ones (BXs), the expression of defense-related genes in maize, and their ability to alleviate the severity of southern corn leaf blight (SCLB) caused by Bipolaris maydis. We found that SCLB was significantly reduced after the above treatments. The contents of 1,4-benzoxazine-3-ones (BXs: DIBOA, DIMBOA, and MBOA) and the expression levels of BX synthesis and defense genes in maize roots and shoots were up-regulated. DIMBOA and MBOA effectively inhibited the mycelium growth of Bipolaris maydis at physiological concentrations in maize shoots. Further studies suggested that the defense related pathways or genes in maize roots and shoots were activated by elicitors from the P. capsici or pepper root exudates. In conclusion, maize increased the levels of BXs and defense gene expression both in roots and shoots after being triggered by root exudates and pathogen from neighboring pepper plants, eventually enhancing its resistance.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Intercropping systems could increase crop diversity and avoid vulnerability to biotic stresses. Most studies have shown that intercropping can provide relief to crops against wind-dispersed pathogens. However, there was limited data on how the practice of intercropping help crops against soil-borne Phytophthora disease. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:Compared to pepper monoculture, a large scale intercropping study of maize grown between pepper rows reduced disease levels of the soil-borne pepper Phytophthora blight. These reduced disease levels of Phytophthora in the intercropping system were correlated with the ability of maize plants to form a "root wall" that restricted the movement of Phytophthora capsici across rows. Experimentally, it was found that maize roots attracted the zoospores of P. capsici and then inhibited their growth. When maize plants were grown in close proximity to each other, the roots produced and secreted larger quantities of 2,4-dihydroxy-7-methoxy-2H-1,4-benzoxazin-3(4H)-one (DIMBOA) and 6-methoxy-2-benzoxazolinone (MBOA). Furthermore, MBOA, benzothiazole (BZO), and 2-(methylthio)-benzothiazole (MBZO) were identified in root exudates of maize and showed antimicrobial activity against P. capsici. CONCLUSIONS:Maize could form a "root wall" to restrict the spread of P. capsici across rows in maize and pepper intercropping systems. Antimicrobe compounds secreted by maize root were one of the factors that resulted in the inhibition of P. capsici. These results provide new insights into plant-plant-microbe mechanisms involved in intercropping systems.
Project description:Benzoxazinoids, such as 2,4-dihydroxy-7-methoxy-2H-1,4-benzoxazin-3(4H)-one (DIMBOA), are secondary metabolites in grasses. In addition to their function in plant defence against pests and diseases above-ground, benzoxazinoids (BXs) have also been implicated in defence below-ground, where they can exert allelochemical or antimicrobial activities. We have studied the impact of BXs on the interaction between maize and Pseudomonas putida KT2440, a competitive coloniser of the maize rhizosphere with plant-beneficial traits. Chromatographic analyses revealed that DIMBOA is the main BX compound in root exudates of maize. In vitro analysis of DIMBOA stability indicated that KT2440 tolerance of DIMBOA is based on metabolism-dependent breakdown of this BX compound. Transcriptome analysis of DIMBOA-exposed P. putida identified increased transcription of genes controlling benzoate catabolism and chemotaxis. Chemotaxis assays confirmed motility of P. putida towards DIMBOA. Moreover, colonisation essays in soil with Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP)-expressing P. putida showed that DIMBOA-producing roots of wild-type maize attract significantly higher numbers of P. putida cells than roots of the DIMBOA-deficient bx1 mutant. Our results demonstrate a central role for DIMBOA as a below-ground semiochemical for recruitment of plant-beneficial rhizobacteria during the relatively young and vulnerable growth stages of maize.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Plants actively shape their associated microbial communities by synthesizing bio-active substances. Plant secondary metabolites are known for their signaling and plant defense functions, yet little is known about their overall effect on the plant microbiome. In this work, we studied the effects of benzoxazinoids (BXs), a group of secondary metabolites present in maize, on the host-associated microbial structure. Using BX knock-out mutants and their W22 parental lines, we employed 16S and ITS2 rRNA gene amplicon analysis to characterize the maize microbiome at early growth stages. RESULTS:Rhizo-box experiment showed that BXs affected microbial communities not only in roots and shoots, but also in the rhizosphere. Fungal richness in roots was more affected by BXs than root bacterial richness. Maize genotype (BX mutants and their parental lines) as well as plant age explained both fungal and bacterial community structure. Genotypic effect on microbial communities was stronger in roots than in rhizosphere. Diverse, but specific, microbial taxa were affected by BX in both roots and shoots, for instance, many plant pathogens were negatively correlated to BX content. In addition, a co-occurrence analysis of the root microbiome revealed that BXs affected specific groups of the microbiome. CONCLUSIONS:This study provides insights into the role of BXs for microbial community assembly in the rhizosphere and in roots and shoots. Coupling the quantification of BX metabolites with bacterial and fungal communities, we were able to suggest a gatekeeper role of BX by showing its correlation with specific microbial taxa and thus providing insights into effects on specific fungal and bacterial taxa in maize roots and shoots. Root microbial co-occurrence networks revealed that BXs affect specific microbial clusters.
Project description:Benzoxazinoids (BXs) are secondary metabolites with diverse functions, but are primarily involved in protecting plants, mainly from the family Poaceae, against insects and fungal pathogens. Rye is a cereal crop that is highly resistant to biotic stresses. However, its susceptibility to brown rust caused by Puccinia recondita f. sp. secalis (Prs) is still a major problem affecting its commercial production. Additionally, the genetic and metabolic factors related to this disease remain poorly characterized. In this study, we investigated whether and to what extent the brown rust infection and the inoculation procedure affect the contents of specific BXs (HBOA, GDIBOA, DIBOA, GDIMBOA, DIMBOA, and MBOA) and the expression of genes related to BX (ScBx1-5, ScIgl, and Scglu). We revealed that treatments with water and a urediniospore suspension usually downregulate gene expression levels. Moreover, HBOA and DIBOA contents decreased, whereas the contents of the remaining metabolites increased. Specifically, the MBOA content increased more after the mock treatment than after the Prs treatment, whereas the increase in GDIBOA and GDIMBOA levels was usually due to the Prs infection, especially at two of the most critical time-points, 17 and 24 h post-treatment. Therefore, GDIBOA and GDIMBOA are glucosides that are important components of rye defence responses to brown rust. Furthermore, along with MBOA, they protect rye against the stress associated with the inoculation procedure used in this study.
Project description:Tailoring defense responses to different attackers is important for plant performance. Plants can use secondary metabolites with dual functions in resistance and defense signaling to mount herbivore-specific responses. To date, the specificity and evolution of this mechanism are unclear. Here, we studied the functional architecture, specificity, and genetic basis of defense regulation by benzoxazinoids in cereals. We document that DIMBOA-Glc induces callose as an aphid resistance factor in wheat. O-methylation of DIMBOA-Glc to HDMBOA-Glc increases plant resistance to caterpillars but reduces callose inducibility and resistance to aphids. DIMBOA-Glc induces callose in wheat and maize, but not in Arabidopsis, while the glucosinolate 4MO-I3M does the opposite. We identify a wheat O-methyltransferase (TaBX10) that is induced by caterpillar feeding and converts DIMBOA-Glc to HDMBOA-Glc in vitro. While the core pathway of benzoxazinoid biosynthesis is conserved between wheat and maize, the wheat genome does not contain close homologs of the maize DIMBOA-Glc O-methyltransferase genes, and TaBx10 is only distantly related. Thus, the functional architecture of herbivore-specific defense regulation is similar in maize and wheat, but the regulating biosynthetic genes likely evolved separately. This study shows how two different cereal species independently achieved herbivore-specific defense activation by regulating secondary metabolite production.
Project description:Hydroxamates (HX) are major secondary metabolites synthesized by rye and are responsible for some of the unique properties of this cereal, including good tolerance of biotic and abiotic stresses and allelopathy. Recently, five genes encoding enzymes taking part in HX biosynthesis have been sequenced and characterized, which was the starting point to undertake the present study. Association analysis of the content of six HX-HBOA (2-hydroxy-1,4-benzoxazin-3-one), GDIBOA (2,4-dihydroxy-1,4-benzoxazin-3(4H)-one glucoside), DIBOA (2,4-dihydroxy-1,4-benzoxazin-3(4H)-one), GDIMBOA (2,4-dihydroxy-7-methoxy-1,4-benzoxazin-3(4H)-one glucoside), DIMBOA (2,4-dihydroxy-7-methoxy-1,4-benzoxazin-3(4H)-one) and MBOA (6-methoxy-benzoxazolin-2(3H)-one) in the above-ground parts of plants and roots was performed on a population consisting of 102 and 121 diverse inbred lines, in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Altogether, 48 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were found to be associated with the content of at least one HX: 20 SNPs were associated with HX synthesized in the above-ground parts of rye plants (AG-SNP), and 28 were associated with HX synthesized in the roots (R-SNP). The highest number of SNPs was present in genes ScBx1 (9) and ScBx5 (11). The majority of SNPs were affected by environmental factors, except for two: ScBx4_1702 associated with GDIBOA and MBOA contents, and ScBx5_1105 associated with HBOA content in roots.
Project description:Jasmonates (JAs) together with jasmonic acid and its offshoots are lipid-derived endogenous hormones that play key roles in both developmental processes and different defense responses in plants. JAs have been studied intensively in the past decades for their substantial roles in plant defense comebacks against diverse environmental stresses among model plants. However, the role of this phytohormone has been poorly investigated in the monocotyledonous species against abiotic stresses. In this study, a JA biosynthesis mutant opr7opr8 was used for the investigation of JA roles in the salt stress responses of maize seedlings, whose roots were exposed to 0 to 300 mM NaCl. Foliar stomatal observation showed that opr7opr8 had a larger stomatal aperture than wild type (WT) (B73) under salinity stress, indicating that JA positively regulates guard cell movement under salt stress. The results regarding chlorophyll content and leaf senescence showed that opr7opr8 exhibited delayed leaf senescence under salt stress as compared to WT, indicating that JA plays a role in salt-inducing cell death and subsequent leaf senescence. Moreover, the morphological parameters, including the length of the shoots and roots, and the fresh and dry weights of the shoots and roots, showed that after 7 days of salt treatment, opr7opr8 had heavier and longer shoots than WT but slighter and shorter roots than WT. In addition, ion analysis showed that opr7opr8 accumulated less sodium but more potassium in the leaves than WT but more sodium and less potassium in the roots than WT, suggesting that JA deficiency causes higher salt stress to the roots but less stress to the leaves of the seedlings. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) analysis showed that opr7opr8 produced less H2O2 than WT in the leaves but more H2O2 in the roots under salt treatment, and correspondingly, ROS-scavenging enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and ascorbate peroxidase (APX) showed a similar variation, i.e., opr7opr8 has lower enzymatic activities in the shoots but higher activities in the roots than WT under salt treatment. For osmotic adjustment, opr7opr8 produced less proline in the shoots at 100 and 300 mM NaCl treatments but more in the roots than the WT roots under all salt treatments. In addition, the gene expression for abscisic acid (ABA) biosynthesis under salt stress was investigated. Results showed that the expression levels of four key enzymes of ABA biosynthesis, ZEP1, NCED5, AO1, and VP10, were significantly downregulated in the shoots as compared to WT under salt treatment. Putting all the data together, we concluded that JA-deficiency in maize seedlings reduced the salt-stress responses in the shoots but exaggerated the responses in the roots. In addition, endogenous JA acted as a positive regulator for the transportation of sodium ions from the roots to the shoots because the mutant opr7opr8 had a higher level of sodium in the roots but a significantly lower level in the shoots than WT. Furthermore, JA may act as a positive regulator for ABA biosynthesis in the leaves under salt stress.
Project description:Maize (Zea mays L.) is a staple crop worldwide with extensive genetic variations. Various insects attack maize plants causing large yield loss. Here, we investigated the responses of maize B73, a susceptible line, and Mo17, a resistant line, to the aphid Rhopalosiphum padi on metabolite and transcriptome levels. R. padi feeding had no effect on the levels of the defensive metabolites benzoxazinoids (Bxs) in either line, and Mo17 contained substantially greater levels of Bxs than did B73. Profiling of the differentially expressed genes revealed that B73 and Mo17 responded to R. padi infestation specifically, and importantly, these two lines showed large gene expression differences even without R. padi herbivory. Correlation analysis identified four transcription factors (TFs) that might account for the high Bx levels in Mo17. Similarly, genome-wide alternative splicing (AS) analyses indicated that both B73 and Mo17 had temporally specific responses to R. padi infestation, and these two lines also exhibited large differences of AS regulation under normal condition, and 340 genes, including 10 TFs, were constantly differentially spliced. This study provides large-scale resource datasets for further studies on the mechanisms underlying maize-aphid interactions, and highlights the phenotypic divergence in defense against aphids among maize varieties.
Project description:Proteins found in the root exudates are thought to play a role in the interactions between plants and soil organisms. To gain a better understanding of protein secretion by roots, we conducted a systematic proteomic analysis of the root exudates of Arabidopsis thaliana at different plant developmental stages. In total, we identified 111 proteins secreted by roots, the majority of which were exuded constitutively during all stages of development. However, defense-related proteins such as chitinases, glucanases, myrosinases, and others showed enhanced secretion during flowering. Defense-impaired mutants npr1-1 and NahG showed lower levels of secretion of defense proteins at flowering compared with the wild type. The flowering-defective mutants fca-1, stm-4, and co-1 showed almost undetectable levels of defense proteins in their root exudates at similar time points. In contrast, root secretions of defense-enhanced cpr5-2 mutants showed higher levels of defense proteins. The proteomics data were positively correlated with enzymatic activity assays for defense proteins and with in silico gene expression analysis of genes specifically expressed in roots of Arabidopsis. In conclusion, our results show a clear correlation between defense-related proteins secreted by roots and flowering time.
Project description:The biosynthesis of DIMBOA, a pesticidal secondary metabolite of maize, branches off the tryptophan pathway. We have previously demonstrated that indole is the last intermediate common to both the tryptophan and hydroxamic acid pathways. The earliest discovered mutant in the DIMBOA pathway, bxbx (benzoxazineless), is deficient in the production of DIMBOA and related compounds. This paper presents evidence that a gene identified by Kramer and Koziel [Kramer, V. C. & Koziel, M. G. (1995) Plant Mol. Biol. 27, 1183-1188] as maize tryptophan synthase alpha (TSA) is the site of the genetic lesion in the DIMBOA-deficient mutant maize line bxbx. We demonstrate that the TSA gene has sustained a 924-bp deletion in bxbx compared with its counterpart in wild-type maize. We report that the TSA gene maps to the same location as the bxbx mutation, on the short arm of chromosome 4. We present evidence that the very early and very high level of expression of TSA corresponds to the timing and level of DIMBOA biosynthesis but is strikingly different from the expression of the maize tryptophan synthase beta (TSB) genes. We show that feeding indole to bxbx seedlings restores their ability to synthesize DIMBOA. We conclude that the maize enzyme initially named tryptophan synthase alpha in fact is a DIMBOA biosynthetic enzyme, and we propose that it be renamed indole synthase. This work confirms and enlarges upon the findings of Frey et al. [Frey, M., Chomet, P., Glawischniq, E., Stettner, C., Grün, S., Winklmair, A., Eisenreich, W., Bacher, A., Meeley, R. B., Briggs, S. P., Simcox, K. & Gierl, A. (1997) Science 277, 696-699], which appeared while the present paper was in review.