The hidden role of seed endophyte in plant disease triangle is uncovered



  As a major crop plant and a staple food for half of the world’s population, rice (Oryza sativa L.) production plays an essential role in maintenance of the global food supply. However, crop yields are restricted by phytopathogens across the world and their spread is prognosed to further aggravate with global warming. In particular, epidemics of seed-borne bacterial disease pose a severe threat to rice production due to a drastic rise of small molecular toxin-producing Burkholderia pathogens.

  Manipulation of disease resistance of the host plant is deemed to be a promising alternative and a more environmentally friendly approach to rice bacterial diseases. The current understanding of disease resistance has been mainly acquired from binary models of plant–pathogen interactions in the disease triangle, involving PAMP-triggered immunity and Effector-triggered immunity in association with complex signaling cross-talk. Locally occurring disease resistance was also recently linked to plant–microbiota interactions in the context of environmental influence, but it still remains largely elusive.

  Recently, the research team led by Dr. Mengcen Wang from the Zhejiang University and Dr. Tomislav Cernava from Graz University of Technology published this study entitled “Bacterial seed endophyte shapes disease resistance in rice” in Nature Plants (Cover Story). This study highlights the hidden role of seed endophytes in the phytopathology paradigm of ‘disease triangles’, which functions as an extended immunity in additional to innate immunity.

The present findings also reveal that seeds, as the evolutionary legacy of plant parents, provide a promising resource to further explore the involvement of the indigenous microbiota in sustaining homoeostasis in the plant holobiont. Particularly, the expected insights into the mutualistic co-evolution of host plants and their seed endophytes in response to distinct stresses will probably provide alternative solutions to promote modern crop cultivation challenged by the global epidemics caused by spreading plants diseases. Article Link:

 Institute of Pesticide and Environmental Toxicology