Response of Arabidopsis thaliana to N-hexanoyl-DL-homoserine-lactone, a bacterial quorum sensing molecule produced in the rhizosphere

von Rad U., Klein I., Dobrev P.I., Kottova J., Zazimalova E., Fekete A., Hartmann A., Schmitt-Kopplin P., Durner J.
PLANTA 229: 73–85, 2008

Keywords: Quorum sensing, plant defense, plant hormones, rhizosphere
Abstract: The bacterial quorum sensing signals N-acyl-Lhomoserine lactones enable bacterial cells to regulate gene expression depending on population density, in order to undertake collective actions such as the infection of host cells. Only little is known about the molecular ways of plants reacting to these bacterial signals. In this study we show that the contact of Arabidopsis thaliana roots with N-hexanoyl-DL-homoserine-lactone (C6-HSL) resulted in distinct transcriptional changes in roots and shoots, respectively. Interestingly, unlike most other bacterial signals, C6-HSL influenced only a few defense-related transcripts. Instead, several genes associated with cell growth as well as genes regulated by growth hormones showed changes in their expression after C6-HSL treatment. C6-HSL did not induce plant systemic resistance against Pseudomonas syringae. The inoculation of roots with diVerent types of AHLs led predominantly for short chain N-butyryl-DLhomoserine lactone and C6-HSL to root elongation. Determination of plant hormone concentrations in root and shoot tissues supported alterations of auxin to cytokinin ratio. Finally, we provide evidence that Arabidopsis takes up bacterial C6-HSL and allows systemic distribution throughout the plant. In sum, the bacterial quorum sensing signal C6-HSL does induce transcriptional changes in Arabidopsis and may contribute to tuning plant growth to the microbial composition of the rhizosphere.
IEB authors: Petre I. Dobrev, Eva Zažímalová