Arabidopsis thaliana exhibits a developmentally regulated disease-resistance response known as age-related resistance (ARR), a process that requires intercellular accumulation of salicylic acid (SA), which is thought to act as an antimicrobial agent. ARR is characterized by enhanced resistance to some pathogens at the late adult-vegetative and reproductive stages. While the transition to flowering does not cause the onset of ARR, both processes involve the MADS-domain transcription factor SHORT VEGETATIVE PHASE (SVP). In this study, ARR-defective svp mutants were found to accumulate reduced levels of intercellular SA compared with wild type in response to Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato. Double mutant and overexpression analyses suggest that SVP and SOC1 (SUPPRESSOR OF OVEREXPRESSION OF CO 1) act antagonistically, such that SVP is required for ARR to alleviate the negative effects of SOC1 on SA accumulation. In vitro, SA exhibited antibacterial and antibiofilm activity at concentrations similar to those measured in the intercellular space during ARR. In vivo, P. syringae pv. tomato formed biofilm-like aggregates in young susceptible plants, while this was drastically reduced in mature ARR-competent plants, which accumulate intercellular SA. Collectively, these results reveal a novel role for the floral regulators SVP and SOC1 in disease resistance and provide evidence that SA acts directly on pathogens as an antimicrobial agent.
[Formula: see text] Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license .