Overlapping Defense Responses to Water Limitation and Pathogen Attack and their Consequences for Resistance to Powdery Mildew Disease in Garlic Mustard, Alliaria petiolata

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Plant responses to abiotic stress can alter their response to biotic stress. We examined changes in the activity of several defense proteins in response to powdery mildew infection of garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) in the greenhouse and in the field. Second, we examined the effects of water limitation on the same defense protein responses, as well as on total soluble protein and glucose concentration, plant growth, and powdery mildew disease development. Similar increases in the activity of peroxidase, chitinase, and β-1-3-glucanase were observed in leaves of plants with substantial powdery mildew disease in both greenhouse- and field-grown plants. In the greenhouse, activities of chitinase and peroxidase as well as total soluble protein and glucose concentrations generally increased with the degree of water limitation. In turn, leaf growth and powdery mildew symptom development decreased as the degree of water limitation increased. This study revealed that plant chemical responses to water limitation and powdery mildew disease can overlap to a large extent, which, in addition to changing microenvironmental conditions and other indicators of plant quality, may underlie the ability of water limitation to inhibit powdery mildew disease symptom development in this wild plant pathosystem.



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