Plants attenuate their responses to a variety of bacterial and fungal pathogens, leading to higher incidences of pathogen infection at night. However, little is known about the molecular mechanism responsible for the light-induced defence response; transcriptome data would likely facilitate the elucidation of this mechanism.
In this study, we observed diurnal changes in tomato resistance to Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 (Pto DC3000), with the greatest susceptibility before midnight. Nightly light treatment, particularly red light treatment, significantly enhanced the resistance; this effect was correlated with increased salicylic acid (SA) accumulation and defence-related gene transcription. RNA-seq analysis revealed that red light induced a set of circadian rhythm-related genes involved in the phytochrome and SA-regulated resistance response. The biosynthesis and signalling pathways of multiple plant hormones (auxin, SA, jasmonate, and ethylene) were co-ordinately regulated following Pto DC3000 infection and red light, and the SA pathway was most significantly affected by red light and Pto DC3000 infection. This result indicates that SA-mediated signalling pathways are involved in red light-induced resistance to pathogens. Importantly, silencing of nonexpressor of pathogensis-related genes 1 (NPR1) partially compromised red light-induced resistance against Pto DC3000. Furthermore, sets of genes involved in redox homeostasis (respiratory burst oxidase homologue, RBOH; glutathione S-transferases, GSTs; glycosyltransferase, GTs), calcium (calmodulin, CAM; calmodulin-binding protein, CBP), and defence (polyphenol oxidase, PPO; nudix hydrolase1, NUDX1) as well as transcription factors (WRKY18, WRKY53, WRKY60, WRKY70) and cellulose synthase were differentially induced at the transcriptional level by red light in response to pathogen challenge.
Taken together, our results suggest that there is a diurnal change in susceptibility to Pto DC3000 with greatest susceptibility in the evening. The red light induced-resistance to Pto DC3000 at night is associated with enhancement of the SA pathway, cellulose synthase, and reduced redox homeostasis.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1228-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.