Rhizobacterium-derived diacetyl modulates plant immunity in a phosphate-dependent manner

Rafael J.L. Morcillo, Sunil K. Singh, Danxia He, Guo An, Juan I. Vílchez, Kai Tang, Fengtong Yuan, Yazhou Sun, Chuyang Shao, Song Zhang, Yu Yang, Xiaomin Liu, Yashan Dang, Wei Wang, Jinghui Gao, Weichang Huang, Mingguang Lei, Chun Peng Song, Jian Kang Zhu, Alberto P. MachoPual W. Paré, Huiming Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Plants establish mutualistic associations with beneficial microbes while deploying the immune system to defend against pathogenic ones. Little is known about the interplay between mutualism and immunity and the mediator molecules enabling such crosstalk. Here, we show that plants respond differentially to a volatile bacterial compound through integral modulation of the immune system and the phosphate-starvation response (PSR) system, resulting in either mutualism or immunity. We found that exposure of Arabidopsis thaliana to a known plant growth-promoting rhizobacterium can unexpectedly have either beneficial or deleterious effects to plants. The beneficial-to-deleterious transition is dependent on availability of phosphate to the plants and is mediated by diacetyl, a bacterial volatile compound. Under phosphate-sufficient conditions, diacetyl partially suppresses plant production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and enhances symbiont colonization without compromising disease resistance. Under phosphate-deficient conditions, diacetyl enhances phytohormone-mediated immunity and consequently causes plant hyper-sensitivity to phosphate deficiency. Therefore, diacetyl affects the type of relation between plant hosts and certain rhizobacteria in a way that depends on the plant's phosphate-starvation response system and phytohormone-mediated immunity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere102602
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2020


  • diacetyl
  • immunity
  • mutualism
  • phosphate
  • plant–bacteria interactions


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