ABA signaling inhibits oxalate-induced production of reactive oxygen species and protects against Sclerotinia sclerotiorum in Arabidopsis thaliana
Oxalic acid is an essential virulence factor of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum that elicits wilting symptoms in infected host plants. Foliar wilting in response to oxalic acid is known to be dependent on an increase in stomatal conductance. To determine whether stomatal regulation controls susceptibility to S. sclerotiorum, abscisic acid-insensitive and open stomata mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana were analyzed. Whereas abscisic acid-insensitive mutants were hypersusceptible to S. sclerotiorum, open stomata mutants were as susceptible as wild type. It was concluded that stomatal regulation does not control susceptibility to S. sclerotiorum because open stomata mutants are known to only impair guard cells whereas abscisic acid-insensitive mutants also affect other cell types. Guard cell-independent processes also control sensitivity to oxalic acid because oxalic acid was more toxic to abscisic acid-insensitive mutants than to open stomata mutants. To explore a possible mechanism of toxicity, production of reactive oxygen species was measured in plant cells after exposure to oxalic acid. Oxalic acid was found to elicit reactive oxygen species production independently of abscisic acid. Nevertheless, cancellation of reactive oxygen species elicitation after co-stimulation of wild-type guard cells with oxalic acid and abscisic acid provided evidence for antagonistic interaction between both molecules.