Quantification of Cauline Leaf Abscission in Response to Plant Pathogens

  • O. Rahul Patharkar
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1991)


Abscission is a process that allows plants to shed unwanted organs. Plants can use abscission as a defense mechanism to shed leaves that are heavily infected with pathogenic bacteria. By shedding infected leaves, plants completely eliminate the bacteria from the plant body, thus preventing further spreading of the disease. A lot is known about how plants limit the growth of pathogenic bacteria in vegetative leaf tissues. Much less is known about how plants defend themselves in non-vegetative developmental stages and how they use organ level responses such as leaf abscission for defense. Organ level defense responses can be effectively studied in the Pseudomonas syringae-triggered leaf abscission system in Arabidopsis. This method article describes detailed procedures for quantitative analysis of cauline leaf abscission including dissecting abscission zones for extraction of RNA and proteins for quantitative gene or protein expression analysis. The method described for molecular analysis of abscission zones could also be used in other cases where tissue is extremely limiting.

Key words

Leaf abscission Defense response Flowering plants Pseudomonas syringae DC3000 Bacterial infection Limiting tissue RNA extraction Protein extraction Quantitative abscission 



I would like to thank Catherine Espinoza Patharkar for reading and editing the manuscript and John Walker for supporting this work.


  1. 1.
    Patharkar OR, Gassmann W, Walker JC (2017) Leaf shedding as an anti-bacterial defense in Arabidopsis cauline leaves. PLoS Genet 13:e1007132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Jones JDG, Dangl JL (2006) The plant immune system. NATNEWS 444:323–329Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Abramovitch RB, Anderson JC, Martin GB (2006) Bacterial elicitation and evasion of plant innate immunity. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 7:601–611CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Zipfel C (2008) Pattern-recognition receptors in plant innate immunity. Curr Opin Immunol 20:10–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Patharkar OR, Walker JC (2016) Core mechanisms regulating developmentally timed and environmentally triggered abscission. Plant Physiol 172:510–520CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Patharkar OR, Walker JC (2017) Advances in abscission signaling. J Exp Bot. Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hirano SS, Upper CD (2000) Bacteria in the leaf ecosystem with emphasis on Pseudomonas syringae—a pathogen, ice nucleus, and epiphyte. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev 64:624–653CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Upper CD, Hirano SS, Dodd KK et al (2003) Factors that affect spread of Pseudomonas syringae in the phyllosphere. Phytopathology 93:1082–1092CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Bashan Y (1986) Field dispersal of Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato, Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria, and Alternaria macrospora by animals, people, birds, insects, mites, agricultural tools, aircraft, soil particles, and water sources. Can J Bot 64:276–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Lilley AK, Hails RS, Cory JS et al (1997) The dispersal and establishment of pseudomonad populations in the phyllosphere of sugar beet by phytophagous caterpillars. FEMS Microbiol Ecol 24:151–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Addicott FT (1982) Abscission. University of California Press, Oakland, CAGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Lease KA, Cho SK, Walker JC (2006) A petal breakstrength meter for Arabidopsis abscission studies. Plant Methods 2:2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Patharkar OR, Walker JC (2015) Floral organ abscission is regulated by a positive feedback loop. Proc Natl Acad Sci 112:2906–2911CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Patharkar OR, Macken TA, Walker JC (2016) Serine 231 and 257 of Agamous-like 15 are phosphorylated in floral receptacles. Plant Signal Behav 11:e1199314CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. Rahul Patharkar
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Biological Sciences and Interdisciplinary Plant GroupUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

Personalised recommendations