The root parasitic plant species Phelipanche ramosa, branched broomrape, causes severe damage to economically important crops such as tomato. Its seed germination is triggered by host-derived signals upon which it invades the host root. In tomato, strigolactones (SLs) are the main germination stimulants for P. ramosa. Therefore, the development of low SL-producing lines may be an approach to combat the parasitic weed problem. However, since SLs are also a plant hormone controlling many aspects of plant development, SL deficiency may also have an effect on post-germination stages of the infection process, during the parasite-host interaction. In this study, we show that SL-deficient tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum; SlCCD8 RNAi lines), infected with pre-germinated P. ramosa seeds, display an increased infection level and faster development of the parasite, which suggests a positive role for SLs in the host defense against parasitic plant invasion. Furthermore, we show that SL-deficient tomato plants lose their characteristic SL-deficient phenotype during an infection with P. ramosa through a reduction in the number of internodes and the number and length of secondary branches. Infection with P. ramosa resulted in increased levels of abscisic acid (ABA) in the leaves and roots of both wild type and SL-deficient lines. Upon parasite infection, the level of the conjugate ABA-glucose ester (ABA-GE) also increased in leaves of both wild type and SL-deficient lines and in roots of one SL-deficient line. The uninfected SL-deficient lines had a higher leaf ABA-GE level than the wild type. Despite the high levels of ABA, stomatal aperture and water loss rate were not affected by parasite infection in the SL-deficient line, while in wild type tomato stomatal aperture and water loss increased upon infection. Future studies are needed to further underpin the role that SLs play in the interaction of hosts with parasitic plants and which other plant hormones interact with the SLs during this process.
- Abscisic acid
- Plant architecture
- Post-attachment resistance
- Root parasitic plant
Cheng, X., Floková, K., Bouwmeester, H., & Ruyter-Spira, C. (2017). The role of endogenous strigolactones and their interaction with ABA during the infection process of the parasitic weed Phelipanche ramosa in tomato plants. Frontiers in Plant Science, 8, . https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2017.00392