Molecular and Phenotypic Responses of Rhizobacteria-Treated Tomato Plants to Tomato Mosaic Virus Under Greenhouse Conditions

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Plant Production and Genetics, Faculty of Agriculture, Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources University of Khuzestan, Mollasani, Iran.

2 Department of Plant Protection, Faculty of Agriculture, Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources University of Khuzestan, Mollasani, Iran.

3 Topaz Gene Research, Karaj, Iran



Background: Tomato mosaic disease, mainly caused by Tomato mosaic virus (ToMV), is one of the devastating viral diseases which adversely affects tomato yield, globally. Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) have been recently used as bio-elicitors to induce resistance against plant viruses.
Objectives: The goal of this research was to apply PGPR in the tomato rhizosphere and to determine the response of plants challenged with ToMV infection, under greenhouse conditions.
Materials and Methods: Two different strains of PGPR, Pseudomonas fluorescens SM90 and Bacillus subtilis DR06, in single- and double-application methods applied to evaluate their effectiveness in inducing defense-related genes, viz., NPR1, COI1, and PR1-a before (induced systemic resistance [ISR]-prime) and after (ISR-boost) ToMV challenge. Additionally, to investigate the biocontrol potential of PGPR-treated plants against viral infection, plant growth indices, ToMV accumulation, and disease severity were compared in primed and non-primed plants.
Results: Analysis of expression patterns of putative defense-related genes before and after ToMV infection indicated that studied PGPR trigger defense priming through different signaling pathways acting at the transcriptional level and in a species-dependent manner. Moreover, the biocontrol efficacy of consortium treatment did not differ significantly from the single bacteria treatments, even though their mode of action differed in transcriptional changes of ISR-induced genes. Instead, simultaneous application of Pseudomonas fluorescens SM90 and Bacillus subtilis DR06 led to more significant growth indices than the single treatments suggesting that integrated application of the PGPR could additively reduce the disease severity and virus titer and promote the growth of the tomato plant.
Conclusions: These results suggested that enhanced defense priming via activation of the expression pattern of defense-related genes is responsible for biocontrol activity and growth promotion in PGPR-treated tomato plants challenged with ToMV compared to non-primed plants, under greenhouse conditions.


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