Date Published:2019 Apr 24
Abstract:Obligate root holoparasite Phelipanche aegyptiaca is an agricultural pest, which infests its hosts and feeds on the sap, subsequently damaging crop yield and quality. Its notoriously viable seed bank may serve as an ideal pest control target. The phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) was shown to regulate P. aegyptiaca seed dormancy following strigolactones germination stimulus. Transcription analysis of signaling components revealed five ABA receptors and two co-receptors (PP2C). Transcription of lower ABA-affinity subfamily III receptors was absent in all tested stages of P. aegyptiaca development and parasitism stages. P. aegyptiaca ABA receptors interacted with the PP2Cs, and inhibited their activity in an ABA-dependent manner. Moreover, sequence analysis revealed multiple alleles in two P. aegyptiaca ABA receptors, with many non-synonymous mutations. Functional analysis of selected receptor alleles identified a variant with substantially decreased inhibitory effect of PP2Cs activity in-vitro. These results provide evidence that P. aegyptiaca is capable of biochemically perceiving ABA. In light of the possible involvement of ABA in parasitic activities, the discovery of active ABA receptors and PP2Cs could provide a new biochemical target for the agricultural management of P. aegyptiaca. Furthermore, the potential genetic loss of subfamily III receptors in this species, could position P. aegyptiaca as a valuable model in the ABA perception research field.