15 October 2019
Plant–pathogen interactions have been widely studied, but mostly from the site of the plant secondary defense. Less is known about the effects of pathogen infection on plant primary metabolism. The possibility to transform a fluorescing protein into prokaryotes is a promising phenotyping tool to follow a bacterial infection in plants in a noninvasive manner. In the present study, virulent and avirulent Pseudomonas syringae strains were transformed with green fluorescent protein (GFP) to follow the spread of bacteria in vivo by imaging Pulse-Amplitude-Modulation (PAM) fluorescence and conventional binocular microscopy. The combination of various wavelengths and filters allowed simultaneous detection of GFP-transformed bacteria, PAM chlorophyll fluorescence, and phenolic fluorescence from pathogen-infected plant leaves. The results show that fluorescence imaging allows spatiotemporal monitoring of pathogen spread as well as phenolic and chlorophyll fluorescence in situ, thus providing a novel means to study complex plant–pathogen interactions and relate the responses of primary and secondary metabolism to pathogen spread and multiplication. The study establishes a deeper understanding of imaging data and their implementation into disease screening.