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author:("Lai, bribing")
1.  Roles of arabidopsis WRKY18, WRKY40 and WRKY60 transcription factors in plant responses to abscisic acid and abiotic stress 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:281.
WRKY transcription factors are involved in plant responses to both biotic and abiotic stresses. Arabidopsis WRKY18, WRKY40, and WRKY60 transcription factors interact both physically and functionally in plant defense responses. However, their role in plant abiotic stress response has not been directly analyzed.
We report that the three WRKYs are involved in plant responses to abscisic acid (ABA) and abiotic stress. Through analysis of single, double, and triple mutants and overexpression lines for the WRKY genes, we have shown that WRKY18 and WRKY60 have a positive effect on plant ABA sensitivity for inhibition of seed germination and root growth. The same two WRKY genes also enhance plant sensitivity to salt and osmotic stress. WRKY40, on the other hand, antagonizes WRKY18 and WRKY60 in the effect on plant sensitivity to ABA and abiotic stress in germination and growth assays. Both WRKY18 and WRKY40 are rapidly induced by ABA, while induction of WRKY60 by ABA is delayed. ABA-inducible expression of WRKY60 is almost completely abolished in the wrky18 and wrky40 mutants. WRKY18 and WRKY40 recognize a cluster of W-box sequences in the WRKY60 promoter and activate WRKY60 expression in protoplasts. Thus, WRKY60 might be a direct target gene of WRKY18 and WRKY40 in ABA signaling. Using a stable transgenic reporter/effector system, we have shown that both WRKY18 and WRKY60 act as weak transcriptional activators while WRKY40 is a transcriptional repressor in plant cells.
We propose that the three related WRKY transcription factors form a highly interacting regulatory network that modulates gene expression in both plant defense and stress responses by acting as either transcription activator or repressor.
PMCID: PMC3023790  PMID: 21167067
2.  A first genome assembly of the barley fungal pathogen Pyrenophora teres f. teres 
Genome Biology  2010;11(11):R109.
Pyrenophora teres f. teres is a necrotrophic fungal pathogen and the cause of one of barley's most important diseases, net form of net blotch. Here we report the first genome assembly for this species based solely on short Solexa sequencing reads of isolate 0-1. The assembly was validated by comparison to BAC sequences, ESTs, orthologous genes and by PCR, and complemented by cytogenetic karyotyping and the first genome-wide genetic map for P. teres f. teres.
The total assembly was 41.95 Mbp and contains 11,799 gene models of 50 amino acids or more. Comparison against two sequenced BACs showed that complex regions with a high GC content assembled effectively. Electrophoretic karyotyping showed distinct chromosomal polymorphisms between isolates 0-1 and 15A, and cytological karyotyping confirmed the presence of at least nine chromosomes. The genetic map spans 2477.7 cM and is composed of 243 markers in 25 linkage groups, and incorporates simple sequence repeat markers developed from the assembly. Among predicted genes, non-ribosomal peptide synthetases and efflux pumps in particular appear to have undergone a P. teres f. teres-specific expansion of non-orthologous gene families.
This study demonstrates that paired-end Solexa sequencing can successfully capture coding regions of a filamentous fungal genome. The assembly contains a plethora of predicted genes that have been implicated in a necrotrophic lifestyle and pathogenicity and presents a significant resource for examining the bases for P. teres f. teres pathogenicity.
PMCID: PMC3156948  PMID: 21067574
3.  Biosynthesis of salicylic acid in plants 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2009;4(6):493-496.
Salicylic acid (SA) is an important signal molecule in plants. Two pathways of SA biosynthesis have been proposed in plants. Biochemical studies using isotope feeding have suggested that plants synthesize SA from cinnamate produced by the activity of phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL). Silencing of PAL genes in tobacco or chemical inhibition of PAL activity in Arabidopsis, cucumber and potato reduces pathogen-induced SA accumulation. Genetic studies, on the other hand, indicate that the bulk of SA is produced from isochorismate. In bacteria, SA is synthesized from chorismate through two reactions catalyzed by isochorismate synthase (ICS) and isochorismate pyruvate lyase (IPL). Arabidopsis contains two ICS genes but has no gene encoding proteins similar to the bacterial IPL. Thus, how SA is synthesized in plants is not fully elucidated. Two recently identified Arabidopsis genes, PBS3 and EPS1, are important for pathogen-induced SA accumulation. PBS3 encodes a member of the acyl-adenylate/thioester-forming enzyme family and EPS1 encodes a member of the BAHD acyltransferase superfamily. PBS3 and EPS1 may be directly involved in the synthesis of an important precursor or regulatory molecule for SA biosynthesis. The pathways and regulation of SA biosynthesis in plants may be more complicated than previously thought.
PMCID: PMC2688294  PMID: 19816125
salicylic acid biosynthesis; isochorismate synthase; phenylalanine ammonia lyase
4.  Roles of Arabidopsis WRKY3 and WRKY4 Transcription Factors in Plant Responses to Pathogens 
BMC Plant Biology  2008;8:68.
Plant WRKY DNA-binding transcription factors are involved in plant responses to biotic and abiotic responses. It has been previously shown that Arabidopsis WRKY3 and WRKY4, which encode two structurally similar WRKY transcription factors, are induced by pathogen infection and salicylic acid (SA). However, the role of the two WRKY transcription factors in plant disease resistance has not been directly analyzed.
Both WRKY3 and WRKY4 are nuclear-localized and specifically recognize the TTGACC W-box sequences in vitro. Expression of WRKY3 and WRKY4 was induced rapidly by stress conditions generated by liquid infiltration or spraying. Stress-induced expression of WRKY4 was further elevated by pathogen infection and SA treatment. To determine directly their role in plant disease resistance, we have isolated T-DNA insertion mutants and generated transgenic overexpression lines for WRKY3 and WRKY4. Both the loss-of-function mutants and transgenic overexpression lines were examined for responses to the biotrophic bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae and the necrotrophic fungal pathogen Botrytis cinerea. The wrky3 and wrky4 single and double mutants exhibited more severe disease symptoms and support higher fungal growth than wild-type plants after Botrytis infection. Although disruption of WRKY3 and WRKY4 did not have a major effect on plant response to P. syringae, overexpression of WRKY4 greatly enhanced plant susceptibility to the bacterial pathogen and suppressed pathogen-induced PR1 gene expression.
The nuclear localization and sequence-specific DNA-binding activity support that WRKY3 and WRKY4 function as transcription factors. Functional analysis based on T-DNA insertion mutants and transgenic overexpression lines indicates that WRKY3 and WRKY4 have a positive role in plant resistance to necrotrophic pathogens and WRKY4 has a negative effect on plant resistance to biotrophic pathogens.
PMCID: PMC2464603  PMID: 18570649

Results 1-4 (4)