The floral transition is not the developmental switch that confers competence for the Arabidopsis age-related resistance response to Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato
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Age-related resistance (ARR) is a plant defense response characterized by enhanced resistance to certain pathogens in mature plants relative to young plants. In Arabidopsis thaliana the transition to flowering is associated with ARR competence, suggesting that this developmental event is the switch that initiates ARR competence in mature plants (Rusterucci et al. in Physiol Mol Plant Pathol 66:222-231, 2005). The association of ARR and the floral transition was examined using flowering-time mutants and photoperiod-induced flowering to separate flowering from other developmental events that occur as plants age. Under short-day conditions, late-flowering plant lines ld-1 (luminidependens-1), soc1-2 (suppressor of overexpression of co 1-2), and FRI (+) (FRIGIDA) displayed ARR before the transition to flowering occurred. Early-flowering svp-31, svp-32 (short vegetative phase), and Ws-2 were ARR-defective, whereas early-flowering tfl1-14 (terminal flower 1-14) displayed ARR at the same time as Col-0. While svp-31, svp-32 and Ws-2 produced few rosette leaves, tfl1-14 produced a rosette leaf number similar to Col-0, suggesting that the development of a minimum number of rosette leaves is necessary to initiate ARR competence under short-day conditions. Photoperiod-induced transient expression of FT (FLOWERING LOCUS T) caused precocious flowering in short-day-grown Col-0 but this was not associated with ARR competence. Under long-day conditions co-9 (constans-9) mutants did not flower but displayed an ARR response at the same time as Col-0. This study suggests that SVP is required for the ARR response and that the floral transition is not the developmental event that regulates ARR competence.