The moss Physcomitrella patens is a suitable model plant to analyze the activation of defense mechanisms after pathogen assault. In this study, we show that Colletotrichum gloeosporioides isolated from symptomatic citrus fruit infects P. patens and cause disease symptoms evidenced by browning and maceration of tissues. After C. gloeosporioides infection, P. patens reinforces the cell wall by the incorporation of phenolic compounds and induces the expression of a Dirigent-protein-like encoding gene that could lead to the formation of lignin-like polymers. C. gloeosporioides-inoculated protonemal cells show cytoplasmic collapse, browning of chloroplasts and modifications of the cell wall. Chloroplasts relocate in cells of infected tissues toward the initially infected C. gloeosporioides cells. P. patens also induces the expression of the defense genes PAL and CHS after fungal colonization. P. patens reporter lines harboring the auxin-inducible promoter from soybean (GmGH3) fused to β-glucuronidase revealed an auxin response in protonemal tissues, cauloids and leaves of C. gloeosporioides-infected moss tissues, indicating the activation of auxin signaling. Thus, P. patens is an interesting plant to gain insight into defense mechanisms that have evolved in primitive land plants to cope with microbial pathogens.
Reboledo, G., del Campo, R., Alvarez, A., Montesano, M., Mara, H., & de León, I. P. (2015). Physcomitrella patens activates defense responses against the pathogen colletotrichum gloeosporioides. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 16(9), 22280–22298. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms160922280