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    Rosaceae species are economically highly relevant crops. Their cultivation systems are constrained by phytopathogens causing severe losses. Plants respond to invading pathogens through signaling mechanisms, a component of which are of them being plant elicitor peptides (Peps). Exogenous application of Peps activates defense mechanisms and reduces the symptoms of pathogen infection in various pathosystems. We have previously identified the Rosaceae Peps and showed, in an ex vivo system, that their topical application efficiently enhanced resistance to the bacterial pathogen Xanthomonas arboricola pv. pruni (Xap). Here we demonstrate the effectiveness of Prunus persica peptides PpPep1 and PpPep2 in protecting peach plants in vivo at nanomolar doses, with 40% reduction of the symptoms following Xap massive infection. We used deep sequencing to characterize the transcriptomic response of peach plants to preventive treatment with PpPep1 and PpPep2. The two peptides induced highly similar massive transcriptomic reprogramming in the plant. One hour, 1 day and 2 days after peptide application there were changes in expression in up to 8% of peach genes. We visualized the transcriptomics dynamics in a background knowledge network and detected the minor variations between plant responses to PpPep1 and PpPep2, which might explain their slightly different protective effects. By designing a P. persica Pep background knowledge network, comparison of our data and previously published immune response datasets was possible. Topical application of P. persica Peps mimics the PTI natural response and protects plants against massive Xap infection. This makes them good candidates for deployment of natural, targeted and environmental-friendly strategies to enhance resistance in Prunus species and prevent important biotic diseases.


    Laura Foix, Anna Nadal, Maja Zagorščak, Živa Ramšak, Anna Esteve-Codina, Kristina Gruden, Maria Pla. Prunus persica plant endogenous peptides PpPep1 and PpPep2 cause PTI-like transcriptome reprogramming in peach and enhance resistance to Xanthomonas arboricola pv. pruni. BMC genomics. 2021 May 18;22(1):360

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    PMID: 34006221

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