Novel Rosaceae Plant Elicitor Peptides as sustainable tools to control Xanthomonas arboricola pv. pruni in Prunus spp

Fruit crops are regarded as important health promoters and constitute a major part of global agricultural production, and Rosaceae species are of high economic impact. Their culture is threatened by bacterial diseases, which control is only based on preventive treatment with compounds with limited efficacy and a negative environmental impact. One of the most economically relevant examples is the pathogen Xanthomonas arboricola pv. pruni (Xap) affecting Prunus spp. Plant immune response against pathogens can be triggered and amplified by plant elicitor peptides (Peps), perceived by specific receptors (PEPRs). Although they have been described in various Angiosperms, scarce information is available on Rosaceae species. Here we identified the Pep precursor (PROPEP), Pep and PEPR orthologues of ten Rosaceae species and confirmed the presence of the Pep/PEPR system in this family. We showed perception and elicitor activity of Rosaceae Peps using the Prunus/Xap pathosystem as a proof-of-concept. Treatment with nanomolar doses of Peps induced the corresponding PROPEP and a set of defence-related genes in Prunus leaves; and enhanced resistance against Xap. Peps from the same species had the highest efficiencies. Rosaceae Peps could potentially be used to develop natural, targeted and environmental-friendly strategies to enhance resistance of Prunus species against biotic attackers ​
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