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Special Issue "Plant Elicitors of Resistance and the Future of Plant Protection"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Plant Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Emilio Guerrieri
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Istituto per la Protezione Sostenibile delle Piante, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Portici (NA), Italy
Interests: plant multitrophic interactions; aboveground–belowground interactions; plant root symbionts; sustainable plant protection
Prof. Dr. Guido Lingua
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale Amedeo Avogadro, Dipartimento di Scienze e Innovazione Tecnologica, Alessandria, Italy
Interests: plant–microbe interactions; arbuscular mycorrhizae; plant growth-promoting bacteria; plant biotic and abiotic stress

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The sustainable protection of plants relying on all tools and strategies that have a minimal impact on human and environment health has become mandatory under the increasing demand and pressure from public opinion and, even more, under the dramatic challenges posed by climate change. In this context, an important role could be played by the elicitors of plant resistance as a valid alternative to the use of synthetic pesticides. Strong evidence has accumulated on the role of plant-microorganism symbiosis, particularly at root level, in enhancing plant protection from biotic and abiotic stresses. Conversely, the study of the effects of abiotic elicitors, such as silicon, is still in its infancy.

The species-specificity of these interactions and their final outcome require a thorough understanding of the molecular basis regulating them, in order to develop tools (and strategies) to be exploited in the near future for a sustainable approach in plant protection.

Papers submitted to this Special Issue must report high novelty results about the identity of biotic and/or abiotic elicitors of plant resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses in crop or model systems, indicating the possible metabolites and metabolic pathways involved.

Dr. Emilio Guerrieri
Prof. Dr. Guido Lingua
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Biotic elicitors
  • Arbuscular mycorrhizae
  • Ectomycorrhizae
  • Antagonist fungi (trichoderma)
  • PGPR/PGPB
  • Abiotic elicitors
  • Secondary metabolites
  • VOC
  • Molecular mechanisms
  • Biological control
  • Induced systemic resistance
  • Priming

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
The Use of PTI-Marker Genes to Identify Novel Compounds that Establish Induced Resistance in Rice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(1), 317; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21010317 - 02 Jan 2020
Abstract
Compounds that establish induced resistance (IR) in plants are promising alternatives for the pesticides that are progressively being banned worldwide. Screening platforms to identify IR-establishing compounds have been developed, but none were specifically designed for monocot plants. Here, we propose the use of [...] Read more.
Compounds that establish induced resistance (IR) in plants are promising alternatives for the pesticides that are progressively being banned worldwide. Screening platforms to identify IR-establishing compounds have been developed, but none were specifically designed for monocot plants. Here, we propose the use of an RT-qPCR screening platform, based on conserved immunity marker genes of rice as proxy for IR induction. Central regulators of biotic stress responses of rice were identified with a weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA), using more than 350 microarray datasets of rice under various sorts of biotic stress. Candidate genes were narrowed down to six immunity marker genes, based on consistent association with pattern-triggered immunity (PTI), both in rice plants as in rice cell suspension cultures (RCSCs). By monitoring the expression of these genes in RCSCs upon treatment with candidate IR-inducing compounds, we showed that our marker genes can predict IR induction in rice. Diproline, a novel IR-establishing compound for monocots that was detected with these marker genes, was shown to induce rice resistance against root-knot nematodes, without fitness costs. Gene expression profiling of the here-described PTI-marker genes can be executed on fully-grown plants or in RCSCs, providing a novel and versatile tool to predict IR induction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Elicitors of Resistance and the Future of Plant Protection)
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Open AccessCommunication
Chitosan Application in Vineyards (Vitis vinifera L. cv. Tinto Cão) Induces Accumulation of Anthocyanins and Other Phenolics in Berries, Mediated by Modifications in the Transcription of Secondary Metabolism Genes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(1), 306; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21010306 - 02 Jan 2020
Abstract
Despite the numerous beneficial properties and uses of chitosan in agriculture, the molecular mechanisms behind its elicitation potential are still unclear. This study aimed at understanding the effect of chitosan application in the levels of phenolic compounds of Vitis vinifera L. red grapes [...] Read more.
Despite the numerous beneficial properties and uses of chitosan in agriculture, the molecular mechanisms behind its elicitation potential are still unclear. This study aimed at understanding the effect of chitosan application in the levels of phenolic compounds of Vitis vinifera L. red grapes berry skin (cv. Tinto Cão) during veraison. Grapevines were treated with chitosan (0.01% in 0.01% acetic acid) while control grapevines were sprayed with 0.01% acetic acid. Results showed that several monomeric anthocyanins increased significantly in berry skins after treatment with chitosan. Additionally, Catechin, Rutin and Querecetin-3-O-galactoside were also recorded in higher amount upon chitosan treatment. Besides modulating the phenolic content, chitosan treatment also induced modifications in several target genes encoding key enzymes and transporters involved in secondary metabolic pathways. For instance, the genes PAL, CHS, F3H, ANR, UFGT, ABCC1, GST, MATE1 were upregulated in leaves and berry skins at veraison cessation in response to chitosan treatment. Overall, the results demonstrated that chitosan has a stimulatory effect on the accumulation of phenolic compounds, including anthocyanins, mediated by modifications in the transcription of key genes involved in their biosynthesis and transport in grape berries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Elicitors of Resistance and the Future of Plant Protection)
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Open AccessArticle
Bioactive Polyphenols Modulate Enzymes Involved in Grapevine Pathogenesis and Chitinase Activity at Increasing Complexity Levels
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(24), 6357; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20246357 - 17 Dec 2019
Abstract
The reduction of synthetic chemistry use in modern viticulture relies on either the biological control of microorganisms or the induction of pathogenesis-related proteins. In the present study, the effects of hydro-alcoholic plant extracts (PEs) (i.e., by-products of Vitis vinifera L., leaves of Olea [...] Read more.
The reduction of synthetic chemistry use in modern viticulture relies on either the biological control of microorganisms or the induction of pathogenesis-related proteins. In the present study, the effects of hydro-alcoholic plant extracts (PEs) (i.e., by-products of Vitis vinifera L., leaves of Olea europaea L. and Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle) were tested on purified enzymes activity involved in plant-pathogen interactions. The polyphenolic composition was assayed and analyzed to characterize the extract profiles. In addition, suspension cell cultures of grapevine were treated with PEs to study their modulation of chitinase activity. Application of grape marc’s PE enhanced chitinase activity at 4 g L−1. Additionally, foliar treatment of grape marc’s PE at two doses (4 g L−1 and 800 g L−1) on grapevine cuttings induced a concentration-dependent stimulation of chitinase activity. The obtained results showed that the application of bioactive compounds based on PEs, rich in phenolic compounds, was effective both at in vitro and ex/in vivo level. The overall effects of PEs on plant-pathogen interaction were further discussed by applying a multi-criteria decision analysis, showing that grape marc was the most effective extract. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Elicitors of Resistance and the Future of Plant Protection)
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Paraburkholderia phytofirmans PsJN on Grapevine Phenolic Metabolism
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(22), 5775; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20225775 - 16 Nov 2019
Abstract
Phenolic compounds are implied in plant-microorganisms interaction and may be induced in response to plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPRs). Among PGPR, the beneficial bacterium Paraburkholderia phytofirmans PsJN was previously described to stimulate the growth of plants and to induce a better adaptation to both [...] Read more.
Phenolic compounds are implied in plant-microorganisms interaction and may be induced in response to plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPRs). Among PGPR, the beneficial bacterium Paraburkholderia phytofirmans PsJN was previously described to stimulate the growth of plants and to induce a better adaptation to both abiotic and biotic stresses. This study aimed to investigate the impact of PsJN on grapevine secondary metabolism. For this purpose, gene expression (qRT-PCR) and profiling of plant secondary metabolites (UHPLC-UV/DAD-MS QTOF) from both grapevine root and leaves were compared between non-bacterized and PsJN-bacterized grapevine plantlets. Our results showed that PsJN induced locally (roots) and systemically (leaves) an overexpression of PAL and STS and specifically in leaves the overexpression of all the genes implied in phenylpropanoid and flavonoid pathways. Moreover, the metabolomic approach revealed that relative amounts of 32 and 17 compounds in roots and leaves, respectively, were significantly modified by PsJN. Once identified to be accumulated in response to PsJN by the metabolomic approach, antifungal properties of purified molecules were validated in vitro for their antifungal effect on Botrytis cinerea spore germination. Taking together, our findings on the impact of PsJN on phenolic metabolism allowed us to identify a supplementary biocontrol mechanism developed by this PGPR to induce plant resistance against pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Elicitors of Resistance and the Future of Plant Protection)
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Open AccessArticle
Fusaricidin Produced by Paenibacillus polymyxa WLY78 Induces Systemic Resistance against Fusarium Wilt of Cucumber
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(20), 5240; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20205240 - 22 Oct 2019
Abstract
Cucumber is an important vegetable crop in China. Fusarium wilt is a soil-borne disease that can significantly reduce cucumber yields. Paenibacillus polymyxa WLY78 can strongly inhibit Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. Cucumerium, which causes Fusarium wilt disease. In this study, we screened the [...] Read more.
Cucumber is an important vegetable crop in China. Fusarium wilt is a soil-borne disease that can significantly reduce cucumber yields. Paenibacillus polymyxa WLY78 can strongly inhibit Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. Cucumerium, which causes Fusarium wilt disease. In this study, we screened the genome of WLY78 and found eight potential antibiotic biosynthesis gene clusters. Mutation analysis showed that among the eight clusters, the fusaricidin synthesis (fus) gene cluster is involved in inhibiting the Fusarium genus, Verticillium albo-atrum, Monilia persoon, Alternaria mali, Botrytis cinereal, and Aspergillus niger. Further mutation analysis revealed that with the exception of fusTE, the seven genes fusG, fusF, fusE, fusD, fusC, fusB, and fusA within the fus cluster were all involved in inhibiting fungi. This is the first time that demonstrated that fusTE was not essential. We first report the inhibitory mode of fusaricidin to inhibit spore germination and disrupt hyphal membranes. A biocontrol assay demonstrated that fusaricidin played a major role in controlling Fusarium wilt disease. Additionally, qRT-PCR demonstrated that fusaricidin could induce systemic resistance via salicylic acid (SA) signal against Fusarium wilt of cucumber. WLY78 is the first reported strain to both produce fusaricidin and fix nitrogen. Therefore, our results demonstrate that WLY78 will have great potential as a biocontrol agent in agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Elicitors of Resistance and the Future of Plant Protection)
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Open AccessArticle
Formation of α-Farnesene in Tea (Camellia sinensis) Leaves Induced by Herbivore-Derived Wounding and Its Effect on Neighboring Tea Plants
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(17), 4151; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20174151 - 25 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) play important ecological roles in defense against stresses. In contrast to model plants, reports on HIPV formation and function in crops are limited. Tea (Camellia sinensis) is an important crop in China. α-Farnesene is a common HIPV [...] Read more.
Herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) play important ecological roles in defense against stresses. In contrast to model plants, reports on HIPV formation and function in crops are limited. Tea (Camellia sinensis) is an important crop in China. α-Farnesene is a common HIPV produced in tea plants in response to different herbivore attacks. In this study, a C. sinensis α-farnesene synthase (CsAFS) was isolated, cloned, sequenced, and functionally characterized. The CsAFS recombinant protein produced in Escherichia coli was able to transform farnesyl diphosphate (FPP) into α-farnesene and also convert geranyl diphosphate (GPP) to β-ocimene in vitro. Furthermore, transient expression analysis in Nicotiana benthamiana plants indicated that CsAFS was located in the cytoplasm and could convert FPP to α-farnesene in plants. Wounding, to simulate herbivore damage, activated jasmonic acid (JA) formation, which significantly enhanced the CsAFS expression level and α-farnesene content. This suggested that herbivore-derived wounding induced α-farnesene formation in tea leaves. Furthermore, the emitted α-farnesene might act as a signal to activate antibacterial-related factors in neighboring undamaged tea leaves. This research advances our understanding of the formation and signaling roles of common HIPVs in crops such as tea plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Elicitors of Resistance and the Future of Plant Protection)
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Open AccessArticle
The Protective Effect of Trichoderma asperellum on Tomato Plants against Fusarium oxysporum and Botrytis cinerea Diseases Involves Inhibition of Reactive Oxygen Species Production
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(8), 2007; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20082007 - 24 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Trichoderma species are fungi widely employed as plant-growth-promoting agents and for biological control. Several commercial and laboratory-made solid formulations for mass production of Trichoderma have been reported. In this study, we evaluated a solid kaolin-based formulation to promote the absortion/retention of Trichoderma asperellum [...] Read more.
Trichoderma species are fungi widely employed as plant-growth-promoting agents and for biological control. Several commercial and laboratory-made solid formulations for mass production of Trichoderma have been reported. In this study, we evaluated a solid kaolin-based formulation to promote the absortion/retention of Trichoderma asperellum in the substrate for growing tomato plants. The unique implementation of this solid formulation resulted in an increased growth of the tomato plants, both in roots and shoots after 40 days of its application. Plants were challenged with two fungal pathogens, Fusarium oxysporum and Botrytis cinerea, and pretreatment with T. asperellum resulted in less severe wilting and stunting symptoms than non-treated plants. Treatment with T. asperellum formulation inhibited Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) production in response to the pathogens in comparison to plants that were only challenged with both pathogens. These results suggest that decrease in ROS levels contribute to the protective effects exerted by T. asperellum in tomato. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Elicitors of Resistance and the Future of Plant Protection)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Citrus Genetic Engineering for Disease Resistance: Past, Present and Future
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(21), 5256; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20215256 - 23 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Worldwide, citrus is one of the most important fruit crops and is grown in more than 130 countries, predominantly in tropical and subtropical areas. The healthy progress of the citrus industry has been seriously affected by biotic and abiotic stresses. Several diseases, such [...] Read more.
Worldwide, citrus is one of the most important fruit crops and is grown in more than 130 countries, predominantly in tropical and subtropical areas. The healthy progress of the citrus industry has been seriously affected by biotic and abiotic stresses. Several diseases, such as canker and huanglongbing, etc., rigorously affect citrus plant growth, fruit quality, and yield. Genetic engineering technologies, such as genetic transformation and genome editing, represent successful and attractive approaches for developing disease-resistant crops. These genetic engineering technologies have been widely used to develop citrus disease-resistant varieties against canker, huanglongbing, and many other fungal and viral diseases. Recently, clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-based systems have made genome editing an indispensable genetic manipulation tool that has been applied to many crops, including citrus. The improved CRISPR systems, such as CRISPR/CRISPR-associated protein (Cas)9 and CRISPR/Cpf1 systems, can provide a promising new corridor for generating citrus varieties that are resistant to different pathogens. The advances in biotechnological tools and the complete genome sequence of several citrus species will undoubtedly improve the breeding for citrus disease resistance with a much greater degree of precision. Here, we attempt to summarize the recent successful progress that has been achieved in the effective application of genetic engineering and genome editing technologies to obtain citrus disease-resistant (bacterial, fungal, and virus) crops. Furthermore, we also discuss the opportunities and challenges of genetic engineering and genome editing technologies for citrus disease resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Elicitors of Resistance and the Future of Plant Protection)
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