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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(5), 9497-9513; doi:10.3390/ijms14059497

Drought Stress Acclimation Imparts Tolerance to Sclerotinia sclerotiorum and Pseudomonas syringae in Nicotiana benthamiana

1 Plant Biology Division, Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Ardmore, OK 73401, USA 2 Department of Crop Physiology, University of Agricultural Science, GKVK, Bangalore 560065, India Present address: Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA These authors contributed equally to this work.
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 March 2013 / Revised: 13 April 2013 / Accepted: 22 April 2013 / Published: 2 May 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic and Biotic Stress Tolerance Mechanisms in Plants)
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Acclimation of plants with an abiotic stress can impart tolerance to some biotic stresses. Such a priming response has not been widely studied. In particular, little is known about enhanced defense capacity of drought stress acclimated plants to fungal and bacterial pathogens. Here we show that prior drought acclimation in Nicotiana benthamiana plants imparts tolerance to necrotrophic fungus, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, and also to hemi-biotrophic bacterial pathogen, Pseudomonas syringae pv. tabaci. S. sclerotiorum inoculation on N. benthamiana plants acclimated with drought stress lead to less disease-induced cell death compared to non-acclimated plants. Furthermore, inoculation of P. syringae pv. tabaci on N. benthamiana plants acclimated to moderate drought stress showed reduced disease symptoms. The levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in drought acclimated plants were highly correlated with disease resistance. Further, in planta growth of GFPuv expressing P. syringae pv. tabaci on plants pre-treated with methyl viologen showed complete inhibition of bacterial growth. Taken together, these experimental results suggested a role for ROS generated during drought acclimation in imparting tolerance against S. sclerotiorum and P. syringae pv. tabaci. We speculate that the generation of ROS during drought acclimation primed a defense response in plants that subsequently caused the tolerance against the pathogens tested.
Keywords: Nicotiana benthamiana; drought acclimation; disease tolerance; reactive oxygen species Nicotiana benthamiana; drought acclimation; disease tolerance; reactive oxygen species
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Ramegowda, V.; Senthil-Kumar, M.; Ishiga, Y.; Kaundal, A.; Udayakumar, M.; Mysore, K.S. Drought Stress Acclimation Imparts Tolerance to Sclerotinia sclerotiorum and Pseudomonas syringae in Nicotiana benthamiana. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14, 9497-9513.

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