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Improvement in biomass, IAA levels and auxin signaling- related gene expression in shanxin poplar seedlings (Populus davidiana × P. alba var. pyramidalis) induced by Trichoderma asperellum

Rongshu Zhang, Abdul Majeed Baloch, Shuhang Li, Zhihua Liu, Chuanying Jiang, Hui Wang, Abdul Wahid Baloch and Guiping Diao

Trichoderma spp. in the rhizosphere has been proposed to considerably increase growth and yield of some plant species. These fungi are potentially involved in changing IAA production via interactions between the host plant and rhizosphere microflora. The aim of present study was to elucidate the direct plant growth promoting activity of live T. asperellum ACCC30536 (Ta30536) conidia. The roots and shoots of tissue-cultured poplar (Populus davidiana ´ P. alba var. pyramidalis) seedlings were significantly affected by 60 days of treatment with Ta30536 under field conditions, with increases of 30.1% and 20.9% in total fresh and dry weight, respectively, and enhances of moisture content, compared to the control group (Con). Moreover, endogenous IAA in the leaves of poplar seedlings was consistently maintained at higher levels in treated plants than in control, reaching their highest level (1.461 μg/mL FW) before noonon the first day of continuous 15-day Ta30536 treatment. Simultaneously, RT-qPCR analysis showed that the auxin signaling-related genes PodaARF, PodaAUX/IAA, PodaGH3 and PodaSAUR were differentially expressed in treated seedlings compared to control within 48 h of Ta30536 treatment. In addition, Pearson correlation analysis revealed that the correlation among the expression of these four genes was greatly altered in the treated plants versus control. All differences between treated and Con plants likely resulted from exposure to T. asperellumconidia. The results of current study provide valuable insights into the effects of growth stimulation by T. asperellumACCC30536, which likely involve an auxin-related molecular mechanism

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