Abscisic acid implicated in differential plant responses of Phaseolus vulgaris during endophytic colonization by Metarhizium and pathogenic colonization by Fusarium
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AbstractMetarhizium robertsii is an insect pathogen as well as an endophyte, and can antagonize the phytopathogen, Fusarium solani during bean colonization. However, plant immune responses to endophytic colonization by Metarhizium are largely unknown. We applied comprehensive plant hormone analysis, transcriptional expression and stomatal size analysis in order to examine plant immune responses to colonization by Metarhizium and/or Fusarium. The total amount of abscisic acid (ABA) and ABA metabolites decreased significantly in bean leaves by plant roots colonized by M. robertsii and increased significantly with F. solani compared to the un-inoculated control bean plant. Concomitantly, in comparison to the un-inoculated bean, root colonization by Metarhizium resulted in increased stomatal size in leaves and reduced stomatal size with Fusarium. Meanwhile, expression of plant immunity genes was repressed by Metarhizium and, alternately, triggered by Fusarium compared to the un-inoculated plant. Furthermore, exogenous application of ABA resulted in reduction of bean root colonization by Metarhizium but increased colonization by Fusarium compared to the control without ABA application. Our study suggested that ABA plays a central role in differential responses to endophytic colonization by Metarhizium and pathogenic colonization by Fusarium and, we also observed concomitant differences in stomatal size and expression of plant immunity genes.