Magnaporthe oryzae is a hemibiotrophic fungal pathogen that causes rice (Oryza sativa) blast. Although M. oryzae as a whole infects a wide variety of monocotyledonous hosts, no dicotyledonous plant has been reported as a host. We found that two rice pathogenic strains of M. oryzae, KJ201 and 70-15, interacted differentially with 16 ecotypes of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). Strain KJ201 infected all ecotypes with varying degrees of virulence, whereas strain 70-15 caused no symptoms in certain ecotypes. In highly susceptible ecotypes, small chlorotic lesions appeared on infected leaves within 3 d after inoculation and subsequently expanded across the affected leaves. The fungus produced spores in susceptible ecotypes but not in resistant ecotypes. Fungal cultures recovered from necrotic lesions caused the same symptoms in healthy plants, satisfying Koch's postulates. Histochemical analyses showed that infection by the fungus caused an accumulation of reactive oxygen species and eventual cell death. Similar to the infection process in rice, the fungus differentiated to form appressorium and directly penetrated the leaf surface in Arabidopsis. However, the pathogenic mechanism in Arabidopsis appears distinct from that in rice; three fungal genes essential for pathogenicity in rice played only limited roles in causing disease symptoms in Arabidopsis, and the fungus seems to colonize Arabidopsis as a necrotroph through the secretion of phytotoxic compounds, including 9,12-octadecadienoic acid. Expression of PR-1 and PDF1.2 was induced in response to infection by the fungus, suggesting the activation of salicylic acid- and jasmonic acid/ethylene-dependent signaling pathways. However, the roles of these signaling pathways in defense against M. oryzae remain unclear. In combination with the wealth of genetic and genomic resources available for M. oryzae, this newly established pathosystem allows comparison of the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying pathogenesis and host defense in two well-studied model plants.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science