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Abscisic Acid Deficiency Causes Changes in Cuticle Permeability and Pectin Composition That Influence Tomato Resistance to Botrytis cinerea

Curvers, Katrien, Seifi, Hamed, Mouille, Grégory, de Rycke, Riet, Asselbergh, Bob, Van Hecke, Annelies, Vanderschaeghe, Dieter, Höfte, Herman, Callewaert, Nico, Van Breusegem, Frank, Höfte, Monica
Plant physiology 2010 v.154 no.2 pp. 847-860
Botrytis cinerea, Solanum lycopersicum, abscisic acid, cell walls, correlation, disease resistance, fungi, gene expression, mutants, oligosaccharides, pectins, permeability, physicochemical properties, tomatoes
A mutant of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) with reduced abscisic acid (ABA) production (sitiens) exhibits increased resistance to the necrotrophic fungus Botrytis cinerea. This resistance is correlated with a rapid and strong hydrogen peroxide-driven cell wall fortification response in epidermis cells that is absent in tomato with normal ABA production. Moreover, basal expression of defense genes is higher in the mutant compared with the wild-type tomato. Given the importance of this fast response in sitiens resistance, we investigated cell wall and cuticle properties of the mutant at the chemical, histological, and ultrastructural levels. We demonstrate that ABA deficiency in the mutant leads to increased cuticle permeability, which is positively correlated with disease resistance. Furthermore, perturbation of ABA levels affects pectin composition. sitiens plants have a relatively higher degree of pectin methylesterification and release different oligosaccharides upon inoculation with B. cinerea. These results show that endogenous plant ABA levels affect the composition of the tomato cuticle and cell wall and demonstrate the importance of cuticle and cell wall chemistry in shaping the outcome of this plant-fungus interaction.