Bacterial blight results in browning and at times the death of significant crops. For instance, the Great Irish Famine was caused due to the late blight of potatoes. And even today, blight persists, impacting crops globally.
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A form of bacterial blight (caused by Pseudomonas cannabina pv. alisalensis or Pcal) affects cruciferous plants, like cabbage, and also green manure crops like oats.
Pcal employs virulence factors; however, these factors are not yet researched. Researchers from the University of Tsukuba in Japan carried out an analysis into coronatine (COR) function, a widely known virulence factor of the pathogen. A phytotoxin named COR helps pathogen growth and lesion formation or expansion by reopening stomata, which drives the plant more susceptible; however, its precise role in Pcal infection is unclear.
The University of Tsukuba researchers, while analyzing the interaction between Pcal and cabbage and oats, observed that COR reopens the stomata; however, it also suppresses salicylic acid, which plants employ to safeguard themselves from pathogens. By these activities, COR helps Pcal effectively infect the plant, resulting in bacterial blight.
Because of the unique Pcal characteristics, which can infect both dicot and monocot plants, we were able to investigate COR functions in the interactions between the pathogen and two very different plants: cabbage and oat. We believe that the reveal of this virulence mechanism can lead to the development of new disease control strategies.”
Nanami Sakata, Scientist, University of Tsukuba
Nanami Sakata anticipates that this study can be employed to create bacterial pathogens protection techniques or chemicals that target pathogen infection mechanisms.
Sakata, N., et al. (2021) Coronatine Contributes to Pseudomonas cannabina pv. alisalensis Virulence by Overcoming Both Stomatal and Apoplastic Defenses in Dicot and Monocot Plants. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. doi.org/10.1094/MPMI-09-20-0261-R.