Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Plants 2013, 2, 726-749; doi:10.3390/plants2040726.


Copyright © 2013 the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Open access, Creative Commons Attribution license 4.0.


The clubroot disease, caused by the obligate biotrophic protist Plasmodiophora brassicae, affects cruciferous crops worldwide. It is characterized by root swellings as symptoms, which are dependent on the alteration of auxin and cytokinin metabolism. Here, we describe that two different classes of auxin receptors, the TIR family and the auxin binding protein 1 (ABP1) in Arabidopsis thaliana are transcriptionally upregulated upon gall formation. Mutations in the TIR family resulted in more susceptible reactions to the root pathogen. As target genes for the different pathways we have investigated the transcriptional regulation of selected transcriptional repressors (Aux/IAA) and transcription factors (ARF). As the TIR pathway controls auxin homeostasis via the upregulation of some auxin conjugate synthetases (GH3), the expression of selected GH3 genes was also investigated, showing in most cases upregulation. A double gh3 mutant showed also slightly higher susceptibility to P. brassicae infection, while all tested single mutants did not show any alteration in the clubroot phenotype. As targets for the ABP1-induced cell elongation the effect of potassium channel blockers on clubroot formation was investigated. Treatment with tetraethylammonium (TEA) resulted in less severe clubroot symptoms. This research provides evidence for the involvement of two auxin signaling pathways in Arabidopsis needed for the establishment of the root galls by P. brassicae.