In geophyte plants, such as Zantedeschia, individual leaves are directly connected to a specialized underground storage organ (rhizome/tuber), raising a question regarding systemic resistance as a mechanism of defense. A systemic response requires a transfer of a signal through the storage organ which has been evolutionary adapted to store food, minerals and moisture for seasonal growth and development. We have characterized the nature of induced defense responses in Zantedeschia aethiopica, a rhizomatous (tuber-like) ornamental plant by the application of local elicitation using two well-known defense elicitors, benzo-(1,2,3)-thiadiazole-7-carbothioic acid S-methyl ester (BTH) and methyl jasmonate (MJ). The system consisted leaves in which local responses were directly induced, and systemically responsive leaves in which defense molecules were detected, demonstrating a transported vascular signal. Using anatomical and biochemical tools and local elicitation with MJ, the systemic nature of the response was verified in adjacent leaves by unique protein expression patterns; similarly polyphenol oxidase (PPO) activity was found to increase systemically in all parts of the locally induced plants, including the rhizome, and adjacent leaves; finally, significant accumulation of defense signal molecules such as salicylic and jasmonic acids was recorded in local and systemic leaves following elicitation with BTH. Anatomical sections through the leaves and the rhizome revealed that to be transferred from one leaf to its neighbor, signal molecules must have been transferred through the storage organ. The collected data strongly support our hypothesis that defense signals may and are transferred through the storage organ in monocot geophytes.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the Israeli Chief Scientist of Agriculture No. 2560898 . Syngenta kindly provided Bion ® for research purposes.
- Methyl jasmonate
- Signal molecules
- Systemic induced resistance
- Zantedeschia aethiopica