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Resistance Responses of Potato to Vesicular-Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi under Varying Abiotic Phosphorus Levels

David A. J. McArthur and N. Richard Knowles
Plant Physiology
Vol. 100, No. 1 (Sep., 1992), pp. 341-351
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4274633
Page Count: 11
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Resistance Responses of Potato to Vesicular-Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi under Varying Abiotic Phosphorus Levels
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Abstract

In mycorrhizal symbioses, susceptibility of a host plant to infection by fungi is influenced by environmental factors, especially the availability of soil phosphorus. This study describes morphological and biochemical details of interactions between a vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal (VAM) fungus and potato (Solanum tuberosum L. cv Russet Burbank) plants, with a particular focus on the physiological basis for P-induced resistance of roots to infection. Root infection by the VAM fungus Glomus fasciculatum ([Thaxt. sensu Gerdemann] Gerdemann and Trappe) was extensive for plants grown with low abiotic P supply, and plant biomass accumulation was enhanced by the symbiosis. The capacity of excised roots from P-deficient plants to produce ethylene in the presence or absence of exogenous 1-amino cyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) was markedly reduced by VAM infection. This apparent inhibition of ACC oxidase ($\text{ACC}_{\text{ox}}$) activity was localized to areas containing infected roots, as demonstrated in split-root studies. Furthermore, leachate from VAM roots contained a potent water-soluble inhibitor of ethylene generation from exogenous ACC by nonmycorrhizal (NM) roots. The leachate from VAM-infected roots had a higher concentration of phenolics, relative to that from NM roots. Moreover, the rates of ethylene formation and phenolic concentration in leachates from VAM roots were inversely correlated, suggesting that this inhibitor may be of a phenolic nature. The specific activity of extracellular peroxidase recovered in root leachates was not stimulated by VAM infection, although activity on a fresh weight basis was significantly enhanced, reflecting the fact that VAM roots had higher protein content than NM roots. Polyphenol oxidase activity of roots did not differ between NM and VAM roots. These results characterize the low resistance response of P-deficient plants to VAM infection. When plants were grown with higher abiotic P supply, the relative benefit of the VAM symbiosis to plant growth decreased and root infection was lower. The in vivo $\text{ACC}_{\text{ox}}$ activity was also greater in roots of plants grown on high levels of P compared with those grown on low levels, although the influence of VAM infection was partially to counteract the nutritional effect of P on $\text{ACC}_{\text{ox}}$ activity. Similar to $\text{ACC}_{\text{ox}}$ activity, extracellular peroxidase activity of roots increased linearly with increasing abiotic P supply, thus indicating a greater potential for resistance to VAM infection. These findings suggest that VAM fungi may alter phenolic metabolism of roots so as to hinder ethylene production and the root's ability to invoke a defense response. Raising the abiotic P supply to plants at least partially restores the capacity of roots to produce ethylene and may, in this way, increase the root's resistance to VAM infection.

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