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author:("arisaka, Mari")
1.  The Arabidopsis CERK1‐associated kinase PBL27 connects chitin perception to MAPK activation 
The EMBO Journal  2016;35(22):2468-2483.
Perception of microbe‐associated molecular patterns by host cell surface pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) triggers the intracellular activation of mitogen‐activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades. However, it is not known how PRRs transmit immune signals to MAPK cascades in plants. Here, we identify a complete phospho‐signaling transduction pathway from PRR‐mediated pathogen recognition to MAPK activation in plants. We found that the receptor‐like cytoplasmic kinase PBL27 connects the chitin receptor complex CERK1‐LYK5 and a MAPK cascade. PBL27 interacts with both CERK1 and the MAPK kinase kinase MAPKKK5 at the plasma membrane. Knockout mutants of MAPKKK5 compromise chitin‐induced MAPK activation and disease resistance to Alternaria brassicicola. PBL27 phosphorylates MAPKKK5 in vitro, which is enhanced by phosphorylation of PBL27 by CERK1. The chitin perception induces disassociation between PBL27 and MAPKKK5 in vivo. Furthermore, genetic evidence suggests that phosphorylation of MAPKKK5 by PBL27 is essential for chitin‐induced MAPK activation in plants. These data indicate that PBL27 is the MAPKKK kinase that provides the missing link between the cell surface chitin receptor and the intracellular MAPK cascade in plants.
PMCID: PMC5109243  PMID: 27679653
MAPKKK5; PAMP; plant immunity; RLCK; signal transduction; Microbiology, Virology & Host Pathogen Interaction; Plant Biology; Signal Transduction
2.  Genus-Wide Comparative Genome Analyses of Colletotrichum Species Reveal Specific Gene Family Losses and Gains during Adaptation to Specific Infection Lifestyles 
Genome Biology and Evolution  2016;8(5):1467-1481.
Members from Colletotrichum genus adopt a diverse range of lifestyles during infection of plants and represent a group of agriculturally devastating pathogens. In this study, we present the draft genome of Colletotrichum incanum from the spaethianum clade of Colletotrichum and the comparative analyses with five other Colletotrichum species from distinct lineages. We show that the C. incanum strain, originally isolated from Japanese daikon radish, is able to infect both eudicot plants, such as certain ecotypes of the eudicot Arabidopsis, and monocot plants, such as lily. Being closely related to Colletotrichum species both in the graminicola clade, whose members are restricted strictly to monocot hosts, and to the destructivum clade, whose members are mostly associated with dicot infections, C. incanum provides an interesting model system for comparative genomics to study how fungal pathogens adapt to monocot and dicot hosts. Genus-wide comparative genome analyses reveal that Colletotrichum species have tailored profiles of their carbohydrate-degrading enzymes according to their infection lifestyles. In addition, we show evidence that positive selection acting on secreted and nuclear localized proteins that are highly conserved may be important in adaptation to specific hosts or ecological niches.
PMCID: PMC4898803  PMID: 27189990
comparative genomics; evolutionary biology; genome assembly; Colletotrichum; hemibiotrophic fungi; plant pathogen
3.  Leucine zipper motif in RRS1 is crucial for the regulation of Arabidopsis dual resistance protein complex RPS4/RRS1 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:18702.
Arabidopsis thaliana leucine-rich repeat-containing (NLR) proteins RPS4 and RRS1, known as dual resistance proteins, confer resistance to multiple pathogen isolates, such as the bacterial pathogens Pseudomonas syringae and Ralstonia solanacearum and the fungal pathogen Colletotrichum higginsianum. RPS4 is a typical Toll/interleukin 1 Receptor (TIR)-type NLR, whereas RRS1 is an atypical TIR-NLR that contains a leucine zipper (LZ) motif and a C-terminal WRKY domain. RPS4 and RRS1 are localised near each other in a head-to-head orientation. In this study, direct mutagenesis of the C-terminal LZ motif in RRS1 caused an autoimmune response and stunting in the mutant. Co-immunoprecipitation analysis indicated that full-length RPS4 and RRS1 are physically associated with one another. Furthermore, virus-induced gene silencing experiments showed that hypersensitive-like cell death triggered by RPS4/LZ motif-mutated RRS1 depends on EDS1. In conclusion, we suggest that the RRS1-LZ motif is crucial for the regulation of the RPS4/RRS1 complex.
PMCID: PMC4707544  PMID: 26750751
4.  Molecular Characterization of LjABCG1, an ATP-Binding Cassette Protein in Lotus japonicus 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(9):e0139127.
LjABCG1, a full-size ABCG subfamily of ATP-binding cassette proteins of a model legume, Lotus japonicus, was reported as a gene highly expressed during the early stages of nodulation, but have not been characterized in detail. In this study we showed that the induction of LjABCG1 expression was remarkable by methyl jasmonate treatment, and reporter gene experiments indicated that LjABCG1 was strongly expressed in the nodule parenchyma and cell layers adjacent to the root vascular tissue toward the nodule. LjABCG1 was suggested to be localized at the plasma membrane based on the fractionation of microsomal membranes as well as separation via aqueous two-phase partitioning. The physiological functions of LjABCG1 in symbiosis and pathogenesis were analyzed in homologous and heterologous systems. LjABCG1 knock-down L. japonicus plants did not show clear phenotypic differences in nodule formation, and not in defense against Pseudomonas syringae, either. In contrast, when LjABCG1 was expressed in the Arabidopsis pdr8-1 mutant, the penetration frequency of Phytophthora infestans, a potato late blight pathogen, was significantly reduced in LjABCG1/pdr8-1 than in pdr8-1 plants. This finding indicated that LjABCG1, at least partially, complemented the phenotype of pdr8 in Arabidopsis, suggesting the multiple roles of this protein in plant-microbe interactions.
PMCID: PMC4587964  PMID: 26418593
5.  Arabidopsis dual resistance proteins, both RPS4 and RRS1, are required for resistance to bacterial wilt in transgenic Brassica crops 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2014;9:e29130.
Bacterial wilt phytopathogen Ralstonia solanacearum is a serious soil-borne disease that attacks several economically important plants worldwide, including Brassicaceae. Previous studies indicate that recognition of avirulence (Avr)-effector PopP2 by resistance (R) protein, RRS1-R, and physical interaction between RRS1-R and PopP2 in the nucleus are required for resistance. Of late, we showed that a pair of Arabidopsis thaliana TIR-NLR proteins, RRS1 and RPS4, function together in disease resistance against multiple pathogen isolates. Here, we report that dual R proteins, RRS1 and RPS4, from A. thaliana ecotype Wassilewskija confer resistance to bacterial wilt in transgenic Brassica crops. For practical applications, this finding may provide a new strategy for developing disease resistant plants that express R genes from other plants.
PMCID: PMC4203570  PMID: 25763492
R gene; RPS4; RRS1; Ralstonia solanacearum; Brassicaceae
6.  A Novel Pyrimidin-Like Plant Activator Stimulates Plant Disease Resistance and Promotes Growth 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0123227.
Plant activators are chemicals that induce plant defense responses to a broad spectrum of pathogens. Here, we identified a new potential plant activator, 5-(cyclopropylmethyl)-6-methyl-2-(2-pyridyl)pyrimidin-4-ol, named PPA (pyrimidin-type plant activator). Compared with benzothiadiazole S-methyl ester (BTH), a functional analog of salicylic acid (SA), PPA was fully soluble in water and increased fresh weight of rice (Oryza sativa) and Arabidopsis plants at low concentrations. In addition, PPA also promoted lateral root development. Microarray data and real-time PCR revealed that PPA-treated leaves not challenged with pathogen showed up-regulation of genes related to reactive oxygen species (ROS), defenses and SA. During bacterial infection, Arabidopsis plants pretreated with PPA showed dramatically decreased disease symptoms and an earlier and stronger ROS burst, compared with plants pretreated with BTH. Microscopy revealed that H2O2 accumulated in the cytosol, plasma membrane and cell wall around intracellular bacteria, and also on the bacterial cell wall, indicating that H2O2 was directly involved in killing bacteria. The increase in ROS-related gene expression also supported this observation. Our results indicate that PPA enhances plant defenses against pathogen invasion through the plant redox system, and as a water-soluble compound that can promote plant growth, has broad potential applications in agriculture.
PMCID: PMC4388471  PMID: 25849038
7.  Yeast Cell Wall Extract Induces Disease Resistance against Bacterial and Fungal Pathogens in Arabidopsis thaliana and Brassica Crop 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(1):e0115864.
Housaku Monogatari (HM) is a plant activator prepared from a yeast cell wall extract. We examined the efficacy of HM application and observed that HM treatment increased the resistance of Arabidopsis thaliana and Brassica rapa leaves to bacterial and fungal infections. HM reduced the severity of bacterial leaf spot and anthracnose on A. thaliana and Brassica crop leaves with protective effects. In addition, gene expression analysis of A. thaliana plants after treatment with HM indicated increased expression of several plant defense-related genes. HM treatment appears to induce early activation of jasmonate/ethylene and late activation of salicylic acid (SA) pathways. Analysis using signaling mutants revealed that HM required SA accumulation and SA signaling to facilitate resistance to the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. maculicola and the fungal pathogen Colletotrichum higginsianum. In addition, HM-induced resistance conferred chitin-independent disease resistance to bacterial pathogens in A. thaliana. These results suggest that HM contains multiple microbe-associated molecular patterns that activate defense responses in plants. These findings suggest that the application of HM is a useful tool that may facilitate new disease control methods.
PMCID: PMC4286235  PMID: 25565273
8.  Presence of LYM2 dependent but CERK1 independent disease resistance in Arabidopsis 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2013;8(9):e25345.
Plants have the ability to detect invading fungi through the perception of chitin fragments released from the fungal cell walls. Plant chitin receptor consists of two types of plasma membrane proteins, CEBiP and CERK1. However, the contribution of these proteins to chitin signaling is different between Arabidopsis and rice. In Arabidopsis, it seems CERK1 receptor kinase is enough for both ligand perception and signaling, whereas both CEBiP and OsCERK1 are required for chitin signaling in rice. Here we report that Arabidopsis CEBiP homolog, LYM2, is not involved in chitin signaling but contributes to resistance against a fungal pathogen, Alternaria brassicicola, indicating the presence of a novel disease resistance mechanism in Arabidopsis.
PMCID: PMC4002583  PMID: 23803749
chitin; receptor; disease resistance; Arabidopsis; Alternaria brassicicola
9.  Breaking restricted taxonomic functionality by dual resistance genes 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2013;8(6):e24244.
NB-LRR-type disease resistance (R) genes have been used in traditional breeding programs for crop protection. However, functional transfer of NB-LRR-type R genes to plants in taxonomically distinct families to establish pathogen resistance has not been successful. Here we demonstrate that a pair of Arabidopsis (Brassicaceae) NB-LRR-type R genes, RPS4 and RRS1, properly function in two other Brassicaceae, Brassica rapa and B. napus, but also in two Solanaceae, Nicotiana benthamiana and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). The solanaceous plants transformed with RPS4/RRS1 confer bacterial effector-specific immunity responses. Furthermore, RPS4 and RRS1, which confer resistance to a fungal pathogen Colletotrichum higginsianum in Brassicaceae, also protect against Colletotrichum orbiculare in cucumber (Cucurbitaceae). Thus the successful transfer of two R genes at the family level overcomes restricted taxonomic functionality. This implies that the downstream components of R genes must be highly conserved and interfamily utilization of R genes can be a powerful strategy to combat pathogens.
PMCID: PMC3907395  PMID: 23518587
Colletotrichum higginsianum; Pseudomonas syringae; R gene; RPS4; RRS1; Ralstonia solanacearum; restricted taxonomic functionality
10.  Interfamily Transfer of Dual NB-LRR Genes Confers Resistance to Multiple Pathogens 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e55954.
A major class of disease resistance (R) genes which encode nucleotide binding and leucine rich repeat (NB-LRR) proteins have been used in traditional breeding programs for crop protection. However, it has been difficult to functionally transfer NB-LRR-type R genes in taxonomically distinct families. Here we demonstrate that a pair of Arabidopsis (Brassicaceae) NB-LRR-type R genes, RPS4 and RRS1, properly function in two other Brassicaceae, Brassica rapa and Brassica napus, but also in two Solanaceae, Nicotiana benthamiana and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). The solanaceous plants transformed with RPS4/RRS1 confer bacterial effector-specific immunity responses. Furthermore, RPS4 and RRS1, which confer resistance to a fungal pathogen Colletotrichum higginsianum in Brassicaceae, also protect against Colletotrichum orbiculare in cucumber (Cucurbitaceae). Importantly, RPS4/RRS1 transgenic plants show no autoimmune phenotypes, indicating that the NB-LRR proteins are tightly regulated. The successful transfer of two R genes at the family level implies that the downstream components of R genes are highly conserved. The functional interfamily transfer of R genes can be a powerful strategy for providing resistance to a broad range of pathogens.
PMCID: PMC3577827  PMID: 23437080
11.  Development of Full-Length cDNAs from Chinese Cabbage (Brassica rapa Subsp. pekinensis) and Identification of Marker Genes for Defence Response 
Arabidopsis belongs to the Brassicaceae family and plays an important role as a model plant for which researchers have developed fine-tuned genome resources. Genome sequencing projects have been initiated for other members of the Brassicaceae family. Among these projects, research on Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa subsp. pekinensis) started early because of strong interest in this species. Here, we report the development of a library of Chinese cabbage full-length cDNA clones, the RIKEN BRC B. rapa full-length cDNA (BBRAF) resource, to accelerate research on Brassica species. We sequenced 10 000 BBRAF clones and confirmed 5476 independent clones. Most of these cDNAs showed high homology to Arabidopsis genes, but we also obtained more than 200 cDNA clones that lacked any sequence homology to Arabidopsis genes. We also successfully identified several possible candidate marker genes for plant defence responses from our analysis of the expression of the Brassica counterparts of Arabidopsis marker genes in response to salicylic acid and jasmonic acid. We compared gene expression of these markers in several Chinese cabbage cultivars. Our BBRAF cDNA resource will be publicly available from the RIKEN Bioresource Center and will help researchers to transfer Arabidopsis-related knowledge to Brassica crops.
PMCID: PMC3158467  PMID: 21745830
Arabidopsis; Brassica rapa; full-length cDNA; jasmonic acid; salicylic acid
12.  A dual resistance gene system prevents infection by three distinct pathogens 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2009;4(10):954-955.
Colletotrichum higginsianum causes typical anthracnose lesions on the leaves, petioles, and stems of cruciferous plants. Inoculation of Arabidopsis thaliana ecotype Columbia leaves with C. higginsianum results in fungal growth and disease symptoms reminiscent of those induced in other cruciferous plants. We performed map-based cloning and natural variation analysis of 19 A. thaliana ecotypes to identify a dominant resistance locus against C. higginsianum. We found that the A. thaliana RCH2 (for recognition of C. higginsianum) locus encodes two NB-LRR proteins, both of which are required for resistance to C. higginsianum in the A. thaliana ecotype Ws-0. Both proteins are well-characterized R proteins involved in resistance against bacterial pathogens; RRS1 (resistance to Ralstonia solanacearum 1) confers resistance to strain Rs1000 of R. solanacearum and RPS4 to Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato strain DC3000 expressing avrRps4 (Pst-avrRps4). Furthermore, we found that both RRS1-Ws and RPS4-Ws genes are required for resistance to Pst-avrRps4 and to Rs1002 R. solanacearum. We therefore demonstrate that a pair of neighboring genes, RRS1-Ws and RPS4-Ws, function cooperatively as a dual R-gene system against at least three distinct pathogens.
PMCID: PMC2801359  PMID: 19826224
R gene; RPS4; RRS1; Colletotrichum higginsianum; Pseudomonas syringae; Ralstonia solanacearum
13.  Jasmonate-dependent plant defense restricts thrips performance and preference 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:97.
The western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis [Pergande]) is one of the most important insect herbivores of cultivated plants. However, no pesticide provides complete control of this species, and insecticide resistance has emerged around the world. We previously reported the important role of jasmonate (JA) in the plant's immediate response to thrips feeding by using an Arabidopsis leaf disc system. In this study, as the first step toward practical use of JA in thrips control, we analyzed the effect of JA-regulated Arabidopsis defense at the whole plant level on thrips behavior and life cycle at the population level over an extended period. We also studied the effectiveness of JA-regulated plant defense on thrips damage in Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa subsp. pekinensis).
Thrips oviposited more on Arabidopsis JA-insensitive coi1-1 mutants than on WT plants, and the population density of the following thrips generation increased on coi1-1 mutants. Moreover, thrips preferred coi1-1 mutants more than WT plants. Application of JA to WT plants before thrips attack decreased the thrips population. To analyze these important functions of JA in a brassica crop plant, we analyzed the expression of marker genes for JA response in B. rapa. Thrips feeding induced expression of these marker genes and significantly increased the JA content in B. rapa. Application of JA to B. rapa enhanced plant resistance to thrips, restricted oviposition, and reduced the population density of the following generation.
Our results indicate that the JA-regulated plant defense restricts thrips performance and preference, and plays an important role in the resistance of Arabidopsis and B. rapa to thrips damage.
PMCID: PMC2724403  PMID: 19635132
14.  Arabidopsis-thrips system for analysis of plant response to insect feeding 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2008;3(7):446-447.
Insect feeding retards plant growth and decreases crop productivity. Plants respond to insect feeding at the molecular, cellular and physiological levels. The roles of the plant hormones jasmonic acid (JA), ethylene (ET) and salicylic acid (SA) in plant responses to insect feeding have been studied. However, these studies are focused on the plant responses to feeding by well-studied caterpillar type insects or aphid pests. In contrast, we have focused on a minute insect pest, the western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis). Analyses of the responses of hormone-related mutants of Arabidopsis (i.e., JA-insensitive mutant coi1-1, ET-insensitive mutants ein2-1 and ein3-1, and SA-deficient mutant eds16-1) and transcriptome-based comparative analyses indicate the central role of JA in plant responses to thrips feeding. Our work clearly shows that JA signaling, but not JA/ET signaling, is involved in plant tolerance to thrips feeding. We intend to examine the utility and suitability of the Arabidopsis-thrips system in studies of plant responses to insect feeding.
PMCID: PMC2634423  PMID: 19704479
Arabidopsis thaliana; ethylene; Frankliniella occidentalis; insect feeding; jasmonate; western flower thrips

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