Respiratory CO2 Combined With a Blend of Volatiles Emitted by Endophytic Serendipita Strains Strongly Stimulate Growth of Arabidopsis Implicating Auxin and Cytokinin Signaling

Jolien Venneman, Lore Vandermeersch, Christophe Walgraeve, Kris Audenaert, Maarten Ameye, Jan Verwaeren, Kathy Steppe, Herman Van Langenhove, Geert Haesaert, Danny Vereecke

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Rhizospheric microorganisms can alter plant physiology and morphology in many different ways including through the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Here we demonstrate that VOCs from beneficial root endophytic Serendipita spp. are able to improve the performance of in vitro grown Arabidopsis seedlings, with an up to 9.3-fold increase in plant biomass. Additional changes in VOC-exposed plants comprised petiole elongation, epidermal cell and leaf area expansion, extension of the lateral root system, enhanced maximum quantum efficiency of photosystem II (Fv/Fm), and accumulation of high levels of anthocyanin. Notwithstanding that the magnitude of the effects was highly dependent on the test system and cultivation medium, the volatile blends of each of the examined strains, including the references S. indica and S. williamsii, exhibited comparable plant growth-promoting activities. By combining different approaches, we provide strong evidence that not only fungal respiratory CO2 accumulating in the headspace, but also other volatile compounds contribute to the observed plant responses. Volatile profiling identified methyl benzoate as the most abundant fungal VOC, released especially by Serendipita cultures that elicit plant growth promotion. However, under our experimental conditions, application of methyl benzoate as a sole volatile did not affect plant performance, suggesting that other compounds are involved or that the mixture of VOCs, rather than single molecules, accounts for the strong plant responses. Using Arabidopsis mutant and reporter lines in some of the major plant hormone signal transduction pathways further revealed the involvement of auxin and cytokinin signaling in Serendipita VOC-induced plant growth modulation. Although we are still far from translating the current knowledge into the implementation of Serendipita VOCs as biofertilizers and phytostimulants, volatile production is a novel mechanism by which sebacinoid fungi can trigger and control biological processes in plants, which might offer opportunities to address agricultural and environmental problems in the future.
Oorspronkelijke taalEngels
Artikel nummer544435
TijdschriftFrontiers in Plant Science
Volume11
ISSN1664-462X
DOI's
PublicatiestatusGepubliceerd - 2-sep-2020

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