BackgroundLyso-phosphatidylethanolamine (LPE) is a natural phospholipid that functions in the early stages of plant senescence. Plant innate immunity and early leaf senescence share molecular components. To reveal conserved mechanisms that link-up both processes, we tried to unravel to what extent LPE coordinates defense response and by what mode of action.ResultWe found that LPE-treatment induces signaling and biosynthesis gene expression of the defensive hormone salicylic acid (SA). However, jasmonic acid and ethylene triggered gene induction levels are indistinguishable from the control. In accordance with gene induction for SA, oxidative stress, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, we detected raised in-situ hydrogen peroxide levels following LPE-application. Yet, ROS-burst assays of LPE-pretreated plants revealed a reduced release of ROS after PAMP-administration suggesting that LPE interferes with an oxidative burst. Our data refer to a priming effect of LPE on SA/ROS-associated genomic loci that encode pivotal factors in early senescence and considerably improve plant basal immunity. Thus, we challenged Arabidopsis thaliana with the hemibiotrophic pathogen Pseudomonas syringae. Consistently, we found an increased resistance in the LPE-pretreated Arabidopsis plants compared to the mock-pretreated control.ConclusionsOur results underscore a beneficial effect of LPE on plant innate immunity against hemibiotrophs. Given the resistance-promoting effect of exogenously applied LPE, this bio-agent bears the potential of being applied as a valuable tool for the genetic activation of defense-associated traits.