Metabolite profiling reveals a role for intercellular dihydrocamalexic acid in the response of mature Arabidopsis thaliana to Pseudomonas syringae
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The leaf intercellular space is a site of plant-microbe interactions where pathogenic bacteria such as Pseudomonas syringae grow. In Arabidopsis thaliana, the biosynthesis of tryptophan-derived indolic metabolites is induced by P. syringae infection. Using high-resolution mass spectrometry-based profiling and biosynthetic mutants, we investigated the role of indolic compounds and other small molecules in the response of mature Arabidopsis to P. syringae. We observed dihydrocamalexic acid (DHCA), the precursor to the defense-related compound camalexin, accumulating in intercellular washing fluids (IWFs) without further conversion to camalexin. The indolic biosynthesis mutant cyp71a12/cyp71a13 was more susceptible to P. syringae compared to mature wild-type plants displaying age-related resistance (ARR). DHCA and structural analogs inhibit P. syringae growth (MIC ~ 500 μg/mL), but not at concentrations found in IWFs, and DHCA did not inhibit biofilm formation in vitro. However, infiltration of exogenous DHCA enhanced resistance in mature cyp71a12/cyp71a13. These results provide evidence that DHCA derived from CYP71A12 and CYP71A13 activity accumulates in the intercellular space and contributes to the resistance of mature Arabidopsis to P. syringae without directly inhibiting bacterial growth.
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