Monochromic Radiations Provided by Light Emitted Diode (LED) Modulate Infection and Defense Response to Fire Blight in Pear Trees


Pathogenesis-related (PR) proteins are part of the systemic signaling network that perceives pathogens and activates defenses in the plant. Eukaryotic and bacterial species have a 24-h ‘body clock’ known as the circadian rhythm. This rhythm regulates an organism’s life, modulating the activity of the phytochromes (phys) and cryptochromes (crys) and the accumulation of the corresponding mRNAs, which results in the synchronization of the internal clock and works as zeitgeber molecules. Salicylic acid accumulation is also under light control and upregulates the PR genes expression, increasing plants’ resistance to pathogens. Erwinia amylovora causes fire blight disease in pear trees. In this work, four bacterial transcripts (erw1-4), expressed in asymptomatic E. amylovora-infected pear plantlets, were isolated. The research aimed to understand how the circadian clock, light quality, and related photoreceptors regulate PR and erw genes expression using transgenic pear lines overexpressing PHYB and CRY1 as a model system. Plantlets were exposed to different circadian conditions, and continuous monochromic radiations (Blue, Red, and Far-Red) were provided by light-emitting diodes (LED). Results showed a circadian oscillation of PR10 gene expression, while PR1 was expressed without clear evidence of circadian regulation. Bacterial growth was regulated by monochromatic light: the growth of bacteria exposed to Far-Red did not differ from that detected in darkness; instead, it was mildly stimulated under Red, while it was significantly inhibited under Blue. In this regulatory framework, the active form of phytochrome enhances the expression of PR1 five to 15 fold. An ultradian rhythm was observed fitting the zeitgeber role played by CRY1. These results also highlight a regulating role of photoreceptors on the expression of PRs genes in non-infected and infected plantlets, which influenced the expression of erw genes. Data are discussed concerning the regulatory role of photoreceptors during photoperiod and pathogen attacks.


open access article


light quality, photosensors, host-pathogen interaction, resistance genes, gene regulation, bacterial growth, Erwinia amylovora, circadian rhythms, optogenetics


Sgamma, T., Forgione, I., Luziatelli, F., Iacona, C., Mancinelli, R., Thomas, B., Ruzzi, M., Muleo, R. (2021) Monochromic Radiations Provided by Light Emitted Diode (LED) Modulate Infection and Defense Response to Fire Blight in Pear Trees. Plants. 10 (9), pp. 1886.


Research Institute