Plant responses to drought stress and exogenous ABA application are modulated differently by mycorrhization in tomato and an ABA-deficient mutant (sitiens)

Microb Ecol. 2008 Nov;56(4):704-19. doi: 10.1007/s00248-008-9390-y. Epub 2008 Apr 29.


The aims of the present study are to find out whether the effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis on plant resistance to water deficit are mediated by the endogenous abscisic acid (ABA) content of the host plant and whether the exogenous ABA application modifies such effects. The ABA-deficient tomato mutant sitiens and its near-isogenic wild-type parental line were used. Plant development, physiology, and expression of plant genes expected to be modulated by AM symbiosis, drought, and ABA were studied. Results showed that only wild-type tomato plants responded positively to mycorrhizal inoculation, while AM symbiosis was not observed to have any effect on plant development in sitiens plants grown under well-watered conditions. The application of ABA to sitiens plants enhanced plant growth both under well-watered and drought stress conditions. In respect to sitiens plants subjected to drought stress, the addition of ABA had a cumulative effect in relation to that of inoculation with G. intraradices. Most of the genes analyzed in this study showed different regulation patterns in wild-type and sitiens plants, suggesting that their gene expression is modulated by the plant ABA phenotype. In the same way, the colonization of roots with the AM fungus G. intraradices differently regulated the expression of these genes in wild-type and in sitiens plants, which could explain the distinctive effect of the symbiosis on each plant ABA phenotype. This also suggests that the effects of the AM symbiosis on plant responses and resistance to water deficit are mediated by the plant ABA phenotype.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abscisic Acid / metabolism
  • Abscisic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Adaptation, Physiological / drug effects*
  • Adaptation, Physiological / genetics
  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology
  • Droughts*
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / genetics
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / metabolism
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / microbiology*
  • Mutation
  • Mycorrhizae / physiology*
  • Plant Roots / genetics
  • Plant Roots / metabolism
  • Plant Roots / microbiology
  • Symbiosis


  • Abscisic Acid