Pepper and tomato plants infected with two Clavibacter species, C. capsici and C. michiganensis have shown different patterns of disease development depending on their virulence. Here, we investigated how pepper and tomato plants respond to infection by the high-virulent or low-virulent Clavibacter strains. For this, we chose two strains of each Clavibacter species to show different virulence level in the host plants. Although low-virulent strains showed less disease symptoms, they grew almost the same level as the high-virulent strains in both plants. To further examine the response of host plants to Clavibacter infection, we analyzed the expression patterns of plant defense-related genes in the leaves inoculated with different strains of C. capsici and C. michiganensis. Pepper plants infected with high-virulent C. capsici strain highly induced the expression of CaPR1, CaDEF, CaPR4b, CaPR10, and CaLOX1 at 5 days after inoculation (dai), but their expression was much less in low-virulent Clavibacter infection. Expression of CaSAR8.2 was induced at 2 dai, regardless of virulence level. Expression of GluA, Pin2, and PR2 in tomato plants infected with high-virulent C. michiganensis were much higher at 5 dai, compared with mock or low-virulent strain. Expression of PR1a, Osmotin-like, Chitinase, and Chitinase class 2 was increased, regardless of virulence level. Expression of LoxA gene was not affected by Clavibacter inoculation. These results suggested that Clavibacter infection promotes induction of certain defense-related genes in host plants and that differential expression of those genes by low-virulent Clavibacter infection might be affected by their endophytic lifestyle in plants.
Materials and Methods