Title page for ETD etd-06102009-125943

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Paparu, Pamela
URN etd-06102009-125943
Document Title Plant defence responses against Radopolus similis in East African Highland bananas (EAHB- AAA) inoculated with endophytic non-pathogenic Fusarium oxysporum
Degree PhD
Department Microbiology and Plant Pathology
Advisor Name Title
Dr D Coyne Co-Supervisor
Dr T Dubois Co-Supervisor
Prof A Viljoen Supervisor
  • Radopolus similis
  • plant defence responses
  • East African Highland bananas
  • Fusarium oxysporum
Date 2009-04-15
Availability unrestricted

In the interactions between fungal endophytes and their hosts, the host may benefit through protection against pathogens and pests, growth promotion and tolerance to abiotic stresses. Non-pathogenic Fusarium oxysporum endophytes of banana have been shown to reduce the damage caused by the Cosmopolitus sordidus and the burrowing nematode Radopholus similis. The mode of protection against the burrowing nematode involves induced resistance, but the molecular basis of this resistance yet to be demonstrated. It has further been reported that protection of the host by multiple endophytes can lead to better control of target pests, probably because of the multiple modes of action involved. This phenomenon, however, has not been fully demonstrated for F. oxysporum endophytes of banana. This study aimed to investigate the molecular and biochemical basis of endophyte protection of East African Highland bananas (EAHB) against C. sordidus and R. similis.

Expression of banana defence-related genes following endophyte inoculation and R. similis challenge varied greatly between the nematode-susceptible cv Nabusa and the nematode-tolerant cv Kayinja. In cv Nabusa, only the peroxidase (POX) and lectin genes were responsive to endophyte colonization of roots, or R. similis challenge. POX and lectin activities were significantly down-regulated 2 and 33 days after endophyte inoculation (dai), respectively. In cv Kayinja, endophyte colonization resulted in transient up-regulation of POX and a down-regulation of endochitinase (PR-3), lectin, pectin acetylesterase (PAE), phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) and PIR7A (peroxidase). Similar to systemic acquired resistance, PR-1 and catalase activities were up-regulated in the cv Kayinja 33 dai.

Genes involved in signal transduction, cell wall strengthening, jasmonic acid pathway and defence molecule transport were differentially expressed in endophyte-inoculated plants. The expression profiles of four defence-related genes following endophyte inoculation and R. similis challenge were studied using quantitative real-time PCR. ABC transporter, Β-1,3-glucan synthase, coronatine insensitive 1 (COI1) and lipoxygenase (LOX) were up-regulated following endophyte inoculation. Β-1,3-glucan synthase and COI1 were highly up-regulated following R. similis challenge of endophyte-inoculated plants of the susceptible cv Nabusa, while COI1 and LOX were highly up-regulated following nematode challenge of endophyte-inoculated plants of the tolerant cv Kayinja. However ABC transporter gene activity was not up-regulated following nematode challenge of plants of both cultivars.

UP-regulation of phenylpropanoid pathway enzymes PAL, POX and PPO has been observed in roots following colonization by both pathogenic and non-pathogenic fungi. In the current study, endophyte inoculation resulted in down-regulation of PAL activity in both a susceptible (cv Nabusa) and tolerant (cv Yangambi) banana. In cv Nabusa, endophyte inoculation primed PAL activity for up-regulation 30 days post nematode challenge (dpnc). However, in cv Yangambi PAL activity was up-regulated 7 dpnc irrespective of endophyte inoculation. Endophyte inoculation transiently up-regulated POX in cv Nabusa, but activity reduced to the levels in the controls 30 dai. Similar to PAL, R. similis challenge of endophyte-inoculated plants of Nabusa caused significant up-regulation of POX 7 dpnc. Nematode challenge of control plants of cv Yangambi resulted in a non-significant up-regulation of POX compared with non-challenged controls, but a significant up-regulation compared to all endophyte-inoculated plants. PPO activity was transiently up-regulated in cv Nabusa and down-regulated in cv Yangambi 7 dai. For all treatments, PPO activity was significantly reduced between 7 dai and 120 dai (60 dpnc).

Fusarium oxysporum endophyte isolates Emb2.4o and V5w2 were successfully marked with benomyl- and chlorate resistance and transformed with fluorescent protein genes, while Eny1.31i, Eny7.11o and V4w5 were marked with benomyl resistance only. Most mutants and fluorescent protein transformants maintained resistance to the selective chemical on PDA and after plant colonization. Benomyl- and chlorate-resistant mutants were successfully used to determine actual plant colonization percentages by inoculated endophytes. Similarly, GFP transformants were successfully used to ascertain the pattern of endophytic root colonization in vivo.

In plants dually inoculated with isolates Emb2.4o BR 8 and V5w2 CHR 9, both isolates were recovered from roots and rhizomes 4 weeks after inoculation, but isolate V5w2 CHR 9 proved a better colonizer of the two tissue types. Root colonization by isolate V5w2 CHR 9 was boosted when inoculated dually with Emb2.4o BR 8, while that by Emb2.4o BR 8 was reduced in the presence of V5w2 CHR 9. Where growth advantages were observed for dually inoculated plants, it occurred where plants were challenged with R. similis. In the absence of pests, control plants showed better growth than endophyte-inoculated plants. On the other hand, weevil challenge of control plants resulted in significant reductions in plant height, number of live roots and root fresh weight. Dual endophyte inoculation resulted in a significant reduction in R. similis populations in nematode only challenged plants, compared with plants inoculated with Emb2.4o BR 8 singly and control plants challenged with the nematode. In one replicate banana weevil damage to the outer and inner pseudostem base, and the inner rhizome were significantly reduced for dually-inoculated plants.

Copyright 2008, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria

Please cite as follows:

Paparu, P 2008, Plant defence responses against Radopolus similis in East African Highland bananas (EAHB- AAA) inoculated with endophytic non-pathogenic Fusarium oxysporum, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-06102009-125943/> D636/gm

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