Local infection with necrotizing pathogens induces whole plant immunity to secondary challenge. Pathogenesis-related genes are induced in parallel with this systemic acquired resistance response and thought to be co-regulated. The hypothesis of co-regulation has been challenged by induction of Arabidopsis PR-1 but not systemic acquired resistance in npr1 mutant plants responding to Pseudomonas syringae carrying the avirulence gene avrRpt2. However, experiments with ndr1 mutant plants have revealed major differences between avirulence genes. The ndr1-1 mutation prevents hypersensitive cell death, systemic acquired resistance and PR-1 induction elicited by bacteria carrying avrRpt2. This mutation does not prevent these responses to bacteria carrying avrB.
Systemic acquired resistance, PR-1 induction and PR-5 induction were assessed in comparisons of npr1-2 and ndr1-1 mutant plants, double mutant plants, and wild-type plants. Systemic acquired resistance was displayed by all four plant lines in response to Pseudomonas syringae bacteria carrying avrB. PR-1 induction was partially impaired by either single mutation in response to either bacterial strain, but only fully impaired in the double mutant in response to avrRpt2. PR-5 induction was not fully impaired in any of the mutants in response to either avirulence gene.
Two pathways act additively, rather than in an obligatorily synergistic fashion, to induce systemic acquired resistance, PR-1 and PR-5. One of these pathways is NPR1-independent and depends on signals associated with hypersensitive cell death. The other pathway is dependent on salicylic acid accumulation and acts through NPR1. At least two other pathways also contribute additively to PR-5 induction.