Temperature is a major determinant of plant growth, development and success. Understanding how plants respond to temperature is particularly relevant in a warming climate. Plant immune responses are often suppressed above species-specific critical temperatures. This is also true for intraspecific hybrids of Arabidopsis thaliana that express hybrid necrosis due to inappropriate activation of the immune system caused by epistatic interactions between alleles from different genomes. The relationship between temperature and defence is unclear, largely due to a lack of studies that assess immune activation over a wide range of temperatures. To test whether the temperature-based suppression of ectopic immune activation in hybrids exhibits a linear or non-linear relationship, we characterised the molecular and morphological phenotypes of two different necrotic A. thaliana hybrids over a range of ecologically relevant temperatures. We found both linear and non-linear responses for expression of immunity markers and for morphological defects depending on the underlying genetic cause. This suggests that the influence of temperature on the trade-off between immunity and growth depends on the specific defence components involved.
Keywords: Environmental interaction; PR1; growth-defence trade-off; hybrid incompatibility; pathogen defence; thermal reaction norm.
© 2014 German Botanical Society and The Royal Botanical Society of the Netherlands.