Distinct gene expression and secondary metabolite profiles for suboptimal mycorrhizal colonization in wild-type and the jasmonic acid deficient spr2 tomato mutant
A previous study with spr2 mutant tomato plants which are negatively affected in the synthesis of jasmonic acid (JA), suggested that JA regulates the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) colonization via the control of carbon (C) partitioning. Although this and other studies have suggested the important positive role played by JA in the regulation of AMF root colonization in tomato plants, it is currently unclear how different host plant genetic backgrounds affect gene expression and secondary
... abolites variation during JA-dependent mycorrhization. In this study, wild type and spr2 mutant tomato plants having "low", "medium" and "high" mycorrhizal colonization with Rhizophagus irregularis, were analyzed independently using transcriptomic and untargeted metabolomic approaches. The results obtained revealed that the degree of mycorrhizal colonization efficiency could be associated with contrasting expression levels of certain key genes controlling gibberellin signaling, ethylene biosynthesis and signaling, and synthesis of apocarotenoids, phenylpropanoids and tomatine, in roots. Only a few wound responsive genes, including JA signaling and biosynthesis genes, such as Prosystemin and JAZ2 were found to influence AMF colonization. Conversely, a systemic and JA-dependent induction/ repression of genes different from those altered in roots was detected in leaves of mycorrhizal plants. The most significant changes in metabolite abundance were detected in roots with reduced AMF colonization. Included among the latter were metabolites known to be associated with important aspects of AMF symbiosis, such as signaling, nutrient exchange and modulation of pathogen defense response. Αlpha-tomatine levels appeared to be an important factor, whose abundance negatively correlated wit h AMF colonization levels in tomato, suggesting a regulatory role for JA in the synthesis of this metabolite during the AMF symbiosis.