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Berens, M. L.; Wolinska, K. W.; Spaepen, S.; Ziegler, J.; Nobori, T.; Nair, A.; Krüler, V.; Winkelmüller, T. M.; Wang, Y.; Mine, A.; Becker, D.; Garrido-Oter, R.; Schulze-Lefert, P.; Tsuda, K.; Balancing trade-offs between biotic and abiotic stress responses through leaf age-dependent variation in stress hormone cross-talk Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 116, 2364-2373, (2019) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1817233116

In nature, plants must respond to multiple stresses simultaneously, which likely demands cross-talk between stress-response pathways to minimize fitness costs. Here we provide genetic evidence that biotic and abiotic stress responses are differentially prioritized in Arabidopsis thaliana leaves of different ages to maintain growth and reproduction under combined biotic and abiotic stresses. Abiotic stresses, such as high salinity and drought, blunted immune responses in older rosette leaves through the phytohormone abscisic acid signaling, whereas this antagonistic effect was blocked in younger rosette leaves by PBS3, a signaling component of the defense phytohormone salicylic acid. Plants lacking PBS3 exhibited enhanced abiotic stress tolerance at the cost of decreased fitness under combined biotic and abiotic stresses. Together with this role, PBS3 is also indispensable for the establishment of salt stress- and leaf age-dependent phyllosphere bacterial communities. Collectively, our work reveals a mechanism that balances trade-offs upon conflicting stresses at the organism level and identifies a genetic intersection among plant immunity, leaf microbiota, and abiotic stress tolerance.

Ziegler, J.; Schmidt, S.; Chutia, R.; Müller, J.; Böttcher, C.; Strehmel, N.; Scheel, D.; Abel, S.; Non-targeted profiling of semi-polar metabolites in Arabidopsis root exudates uncovers a role for coumarin secretion and lignification during the local response to phosphate limitation J. Exp. Bot. 67, 1421-1432, (2016) DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erv539

Plants have evolved two major strategies to cope with phosphate (Pi) limitation. The systemic response, mainly comprising increased Pi uptake and metabolic adjustments for more efficient Pi use, and the local response, enabling plants to explore Pi-rich soil patches by reorganization of the root system architecture. Unlike previous reports, this study focused on root exudation controlled by the local response to Pi deficiency. To approach this, a hydroponic system separating the local and systemic responses was developed. Arabidopsis thaliana genotypes exhibiting distinct sensitivities to Pi deficiency could be clearly distinguished by their root exudate composition as determined by non-targeted reversed-phase ultraperformance liquid chromatography electrospray ionization quadrupole-time-of-flight mass spectrometry metabolite profiling. Compared with wild-type plants or insensitive low phosphate root 1 and 2 (lpr1 lpr2) double mutant plants, the hypersensitive phosphate deficiency response 2 (pdr2) mutant exhibited a reduced number of differential features in root exudates after Pi starvation, suggesting the involvement of PDR2-encoded P5-type ATPase in root exudation. Identification and analysis of coumarins revealed common and antagonistic regulatory pathways between Pi and Fe deficiency-induced coumarin secretion. The accumulation of oligolignols in root exudates after Pi deficiency was inversely correlated with Pi starvation-induced lignification at the root tips. The strongest oligolignol accumulation in root exudates was observed for the insensitive lpr1 lpr2 double mutant, which was accompanied by the absence of Pi deficiency-induced lignin deposition, suggesting a role of LPR ferroxidases in lignin polymerization during Pi starvation.
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