Plants constantly perceive and process environmental signals and balance between the energetic demands of growth and defense. Growth arrest upon pathogen attack was previously suggested to result from a redirection of the plants' metabolic resources towards the activation of plant defense. The energy sensor Target of Rapamycin (TOR) kinase is a conserved master coordinator of growth and development in all eukaryotes. Although TOR is positioned at the interface between development and defense, little is known about the mechanisms by which TOR may potentially regulate the relationship between these two modalities. The plant hormones cytokinin (CK) and gibberellin (GA) execute various aspects of plant development and defense. The ratio between CK and GA was reported to determine the outcome of developmental programmes. Here, investigating the interplay between TOR-mediated development and TOR-mediated defense in tomato, we found that TOR silencing resulted in rescue of several different aberrant developmental phenotypes, demonstrating that TOR is required for the execution of developmental cues. In parallel, TOR inhibition enhanced immunity in genotypes with a low CK/GA ratio but not in genotypes with a high CK/GA ratio. TOR-inhibition mediated disease resistance was found to depend on developmental status, and was abolished in strongly morphogenetic leaves, while being strongest in mature, differentiated leaves. CK repressed TOR activity, suggesting that CK-mediated immunity may rely on TOR downregulation. At the same time, TOR activity was promoted by GA, and TOR silencing reduced GA sensitivity, indicating that GA signalling requires normal TOR activity. Our results demonstrate that TOR likely acts in concert with CK and GA signalling, executing signalling cues in both defense and development. Thus, differential regulation of TOR or TOR-mediated processes could regulate the required outcome of development-defense prioritisation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science