Using their 1-amino cyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) deaminase activity, many rhizobacteria can divert ACC from the ethylene biosynthesis pathway in plant roots. To investigate the role of this microbial activity in plant responses to plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR), we analyzed the effects of acdS knock-out and wild-type PGPR strains on two phenotypic responses to inoculation—root hair elongation and root system architecture—in Arabidopsis thaliana. Our work shows that rhizobacterial AcdS activity has a negative effect on root hair elongation, as expected from the reduction of ethylene production rate in root cells, while it has no impact on root system architecture. This suggests that PGPR triggered root hair elongation is independent of ethylene biosynthesis or signaling pathway. In addition, it does indicate that AcdS activity alters local regulatory processes, but not systemic regulations such as those that control root architecture. Our work also indicates that root hair elongation induced by PGPR inoculation is probably an auxin-independent mechanism. These findings were unexpected since genetic screens for abnormal root hair development mutants led to the isolation of ethylene and auxin mutants. Our work hence shows that studying the interaction between a PGPR and the model plant Arabidopsis is a useful system to uncover new pathways involved in plant plasticity.
Keywords: Arabidopsis; ethylene; plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR); root hair; root system architecture.