At the scene of the crime: New insights into the role of weakly pathogenic members of the fusarium head blight disease complex

Jiang Tan, Maarten Ameye*, Sofie Landschoot, Noémie De Zutter, Sarah De Saeger, Marthe De Boevre, Mohamed F. Abdallah, Theo Van der Lee, Cees Waalwijk, Kris Audenaert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Plant diseases are often caused by a consortium of pathogens competing with one another to gain a foothold in the infection niche. Nevertheless, studies are often limited to a single pathogen on its host. In Europe, fusarium head blight (FHB) of wheat is caused by multiple Fusarium species, including Fusarium graminearum and F. poae. Here, we combined a time series of (co)inoculations, monitored by multispectral imaging, transcriptional, and mycotoxin analyses, to study the temporal interaction between both species and wheat. Our results showed coinoculation of F. graminearum and F. poae inhibited symptom development but did not alter mycotoxin accumulation compared to a single inoculation with F. graminearum. In contrast, preinoculation of F. poae reduced both FHB symptoms and mycotoxin levels compared to a single F. graminearum infection. Interestingly, F. poae exhibited increased growth in dual infections, demonstrating that this weak pathogen takes advantage of its co-occurrence with F. graminearum. Quantitative reverse transcription PCR revealed that F. poae induces LOX and ICS gene expression in wheat. We hypothesize that the early induction of salicylic and jasmonic acid-related defences by F. poae hampers a subsequent F. graminearum infection. This study is the first to report on the defence mechanisms of the plant involved in a tripartite interaction between two species of a disease complex and their host.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Plant Pathology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Sep 2020

Keywords

  • disease complex
  • Fusarium
  • multispectral imaging
  • plant–pathogen interaction
  • wheat

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