The genus Cuscuta comprises stem holoparasitic plant species with wide geographic distribution. Cuscuta spp. obtain water, nutrients, proteins, and mRNA from their host plants via a parasitic organ called the haustorium. As the haustorium penetrates into the host tissue, search hyphae elongate within the host tissue and finally connect with the host's vascular system. Invasion by Cuscuta spp. evokes various reactions within the host plant's tissues. Here, we show that, when Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) is invaded by Cuscuta campestris, ethylene biosynthesis by the host plant promotes elongation of the parasite's search hyphae. The expression of genes encoding 1-aminocylclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) synthases, ACC SYNTHASE2 (AtACS2) and ACC SYNTHASE6 (AtACS6), was activated in the stem of Arabidopsis plants upon invasion by C. campestris. When the ethylene-deficient Arabidopsis acs octuple mutant was invaded by C. campestris, cell elongation and endoreduplication of the search hyphae were significantly reduced, and the inhibition of search hyphae growth was complemented by exogenous application of ACC. In contrast, in the C. campestrisinfected Arabidopsis ethylene-insensitive mutant etr1-3, no growth inhibition of search hyphae was observed, indicating that ETHYLENE RESPONSE1-mediated ethylene signaling in the host plant is not essential for parasitism by C. campestris. Overall, our results suggest that C. campestris recognizes host-produced ethylene as a stimulatory signal for successful invasion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science