Responses to combined abiotic and biotic stress in tomato are governed by stress intensity and resistance mechanism

Christos Kissoudis, Sri Sri Sunarti, Clemens Van De Wiel, Richard G.F. Visser, Gerard van der Linden, Yuling Bai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Stress conditions in agricultural ecosystems can occur at variable intensities. Different resistance mechanisms against abiotic stress and pathogens are deployed by plants. Thus, it is important to examine plant responses to stress combinations under different scenarios. Here, we evaluated the effect of different levels of salt stress ranging from mild to severe (50, 100, and 150mM NaCl) on powdery mildew resistance and overall performance of tomato introgression lines with contrasting levels of partial resistance, as well as near-isogenic lines (NILs) carrying the resistance gene Ol-1 (associated with a slow hypersensitivity response; HR), ol-2 (an mlo mutant associated with papilla formation), and Ol-4 (an R gene associated with a fast HR). Powdery mildew resistance was affected by salt stress in a genotype- and stress intensity-dependent manner. In susceptible and partial resistant lines, increased susceptibility was observed under mild salt stress (50mM) which was accompanied by accelerated cell death-like senescence. In contrast, severe salt stress (150mM) reduced disease symptoms. Na+ and Cl- accumulation in the leaves was linearly related to the decreased pathogen symptoms under severe stress. In contrast, complete resistance mediated by ol-2 and Ol-4 was unaffected under all treatment combinations, and was associated with a decreased growth penalty. Increased susceptibility and senescence under combined stress in NIL-Ol-1 was associated with the induction of ethylene and jasmonic acid pathway genes and the cell wall invertase gene LIN6. These results highlight the significance of stress severity and resistance type on the plant's performance under the combination of abiotic and biotic stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5119-5132
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Callose
  • cell death
  • ethylene
  • invertase
  • R-gene resistance
  • stress severity

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