Key message: Sensitivity to Erysiphe in Noccaea praecox with low metal supply is related to the failure in enhancing SA. Cadmium protects against fungal-infection by direct toxicity and/or enhanced fungal-induced JA signaling. Metal-based defense against biotic stress is an attractive hypothesis on evolutionary advantages of plant metal hyperaccumulation. Metals may compensate for a defect in biotic stress signaling in hyperaccumulators (metal-therapy) by either or both direct toxicity to pathogens and by metal-induced alternative signaling pathways. Jasmonic acid (JA) and salicylic acid (SA) are well-established components of stress signaling pathways. However, few studies evaluate the influence of metals on endogenous concentrations of these defense-related hormones. Even less data are available for metal hyperaccumulators. To further test the metal-therapy hypothesis we analyzed endogenous SA and JA concentrations in Noccaea praecox, a cadmium (Cd) hyperaccumulator. Plants treated or not with Cd, were exposed to mechanical wounding, expected to enhance JA signaling, and/or to infection by biotrophic fungus Erysiphe cruciferarum for triggering SA. JA and SA were analyzed in leaf extracts using LC-ESI(-)-MS/MS. Plants without Cd were more susceptible to fungal attack than plants receiving Cd. Cadmium alone tended to increase leaf SA but not JA. Either or both fungal attack and mechanical wounding decreased SA levels and enhanced JA in the Cd-rich leaves of plants exposed to Cd. High leaf Cd in N. praecox seems to hamper biotic-stress-induced SA, while triggering JA signaling in response to fungal attack and wounding. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the endogenous JA and SA levels in a Cd-hyperaccumulator exposed to different biotic and abiotic stresses. Our results support the view of a defect in SA stress signaling in Cd hyperaccumulating N. praecox. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
- Biotic and abiotic stresses
- Defense pathways
- Endogenous jasmonic and salicylic acids
- Mechanical wounding