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  • Wirthmueller, Lennart; Asai, Shuta; Rallapalli, Ghanasyam; Sklenar, Jan; Fabro, Georgina; Kim, Dae Sung; Lintermann, Ruth; Jaspers, Pinja; Wrzaczek, Michael; Kangasjärvi, Jaakko; MacLean, Daniel; Menke, Frank L. H.; Banfield, Mark J.; Jones, Jonathan D. G. (2018)
    The oomycete pathogen Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis (Hpa) causes downy mildew disease on Arabidopsis. To colonize its host, Hpa translocates effector proteins that suppress plant immunity into infected host cells. Here, we investigate the relevance of the interaction between one of these effectors, HaRxL106, and Arabidopsis RADICAL-INDUCED CELL DEATH1 (RCD1). We use pathogen infection assays as well as molecular and biochemical analyses to test the hypothesis that HaRxL106 manipulates RCD1 to attenuate transcriptional activation of defense genes. We report that HaRxL106 suppresses transcriptional activation of salicylic acid (SA)-induced defense genes and alters plant growth responses to light. HaRxL106-mediated suppression of immunity is abolished in RCD1 loss-of-function mutants. We report that RCD1-type proteins are phosphorylated, and we identified Mut9-like kinases (MLKs), which function as phosphoregulatory nodes at the level of photoreceptors, as RCD1-interacting proteins. An mlk1,3,4 triple mutant exhibits stronger SA-induced defense marker gene expression compared with wild-type plants, suggesting that MLKs also affect transcriptional regulation of SA signaling. Based on the combined evidence, we hypothesize that nuclear RCD1/MLK complexes act as signaling nodes that integrate information from environmental cues and pathogen sensors, and that the Arabidopsis downy mildew pathogen targets RCD1 to prevent activation of plant immunity.
  • Järvi, Sari; Isojärvi, Janne; Kangasjärvi, Saijaliisa; Salojärvi, Jarkko; Mamedov, Fikret; Suorsa, Marjaana; Aro, Eva-Mari (2016)
    Chloroplasts play an important role in the cellular sensing of abiotic and biotic stress. Signals originating from photosynthetic light reactions, in the form of redox and pH changes, accumulation of reactive oxygen and electrophile species or stromal metabolites are of key importance in chloroplast retrograde signaling. These signals initiate plant acclimation responses to both abiotic and biotic stresses. To reveal the molecular responses activated by rapid fluctuations in growth light intensity, gene expression analysis was performed with Arabidopsis thaliana wild type and the tlp18.3 mutant plants, the latter showing a stunted growth phenotype under fluctuating light conditions (Biochem. J, 406, 415-425). Expression pattern of genes encoding components of the photosynthetic electron transfer chain did not differ between fluctuating and constant light conditions, neither in wild type nor in tlp18.3 plants, and the composition of the thylakoid membrane protein complexes likewise remained unchanged. Nevertheless, the fluctuating light conditions repressed in wild-type plants a broad spectrum of genes involved in immune responses, which likely resulted from shade-avoidance responses and their intermixing with hormonal signaling. On the contrary, in the tlp18.3 mutant plants there was an imperfect repression of defense-related transcripts upon growth under fluctuating light, possibly by signals originating from minor malfunction of the photosystem II (PSII) repair cycle, which directly or indirectly modulated the transcript abundances of genes related to light perception via phytochromes. Consequently, a strong allocation of resources to defense reactions in the tlp18.3 mutant plants presumably results in the stunted growth phenotype under fluctuating light.
  • Durian, Guido; Rahikainen, Moona; Alegre, Sara; Brosche, Mikael; Kangasjarvi, Saijaliisa (2016)
    Biotic stress factors pose a major threat to plant health and can significantly deteriorate plant productivity by impairing the physiological functions of the plant. To combat the wide range of pathogens and insect herbivores, plants deploy converging signaling pathways, where counteracting activities of protein kinases and phosphatases form a basic mechanism for determining appropriate defensive measures. Recent studies have identified Protein Phosphatase 2A (PP2A) as a crucial component that controls pathogenesis responses in various plant species. Genetic, proteomic and metabolomic approaches have underscored the versatile nature of PP2A, which contributes to the regulation of receptor signaling, organellar signaling, gene expression, metabolic pathways, and cell death, all of which essentially impact plant immunity. Associated with this, various PP2A subunits mediate post-translational regulation of metabolic enzymes and signaling components. Here we provide an overview of protein kinase/phosphatase functions in plant immunity signaling, and position the multifaceted functions of PP2A in the tightly inter-connected regulatory network that controls the perception, signaling and responding to biotic stress agents in plants.
  • Ijaz, Usman; Adhikari, Kedar N.; Stoddard, Frederick L.; Trethowan, Richard M. (2018)
    Faba bean (Vicia faba L.) is an important grain legume used as food and feed. Its production is threatened by abiotic stresses and diseases, of which rust (Uromyces viciae-fabae) is one of the major diseases in East and North Africa, China and the northern grain growing region of Australia. Understanding the genetic and physiological mechanisms of rust resistance in faba bean is in an early phase. The presence of seedling and adult plant resistance genes has been observed. The resistance most frequently utilised in applied plant breeding is race-specific, where the interaction between resistance genes in the host and avirulence genes in the pathogen confers resistance. The main drawback of using race-specific resistance is lack of durability, when deployed singly. Slow rusting or partial resistance, controlled by multiple genes of small effect, is generally non-race specific, so it can be more durable. We present the current knowledge of host resistance and pathogen diversity and propose rational breeding approaches aided with molecular markers to breed durable rust resistance in faba bean.
  • Li, Jing; Zhong, Rusen; Palva, E. Tapio (2017)
    Previous studies have identified the Arabidopsis thaliana transcription factor WRKY70 as a node of convergence for salicylic acid (SA) and jasmonic acid (JA)-mediated defense signal pathways and, together with its closest homolog WRKY54, as a negative regulator of SA biosynthesis. Here, we demonstrate that WRKY70 together with WRKY54 negatively affect the response of Arabidopsis to the necrotrophic pathogens Pectobacterium carotovorum and Botrytis cinerea, but not to the hemibiotroph Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato (Pst) DC3000, as revealed by mutants studies. Unstressed wrky54wrky70 double mutants exhibited increased levels of SA, accumulation of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and up-regulated expression of both SA and JA/ethylene (ET) responsive defense related genes. Additionally, protein cross-linking in cell wall was promoted by endogenous SA, suggesting involvement of wall-associated defenses against necrotrophs. This response to necrotrophs was compromised by introducing the sid2-1 allele impairing SA biosynthesis and leading to reduction of H2O2 content and of defense gene expression. The data suggest that the elevated SA level in the wrky54wrky70 double mutant results in moderate accumulation of H2O2, in promoting cell wall fortification and consequently enhanced resistance to necrotrophs but is not sufficient to trigger hypersensitive reaction (HR)-like cell death and resistance to biotrophs/hemibiotrophs like Pst DC3000.