Genetic Dissection of Salicylic Acid-Mediated Defense Signaling Networks in Arabidopsis

Ng, Gina; Seabolt, Savanna; Zhang, Chong; Salimian, Sasan; Watkins, Timley A.; Lu, Hua
November 2011
Genetics;Nov2011, Vol. 189 Issue 3, p851
Academic Journal
Properly coordinated defense signaling networks are critical for the fitness of plants. One hub of the defense networks is centered on salicylic acid (SA), which plays a key role in activating disease resistance in plants. However, while a number of genes are known to affect SA-mediated defense, relatively little is known about how these gene interact genetically with each other. Here we exploited the unique defense-sensitized Arabidopsis mutant accelerated cell death (acd) 6-1 to dissect functional relationships among key components in the SA hub. We show that while enhanced disease susceptibility (eds) 1-2 and phytoalexin deficient (pad) 4-1 suppressed acd6-1--conferred small size, cell death, and defense phenotypes, a combination of these two mutations did not incur additive suppression. This suggests that EDS1 and PAD4 act in the same signaling pathway. To further evaluate genetic interactions among SA regulators, we constructed 10 pairwise crosses in the acd6-1 background among mutants defective in: SA INDUCTION-DEFICIENT 2 for SA biosynthesis; AGD2-LIKE DEFENSE 1, EDS5, and PAD4 for SA accumulation; and NONEXPRESSOR OF PR GENES 1 for SA signaling. Systematic analysis of the triple mutants based on their suppression of acd6-1--conferred phenotypes revealed complex and interactive genetic relationships among the tested SA genes. Our results suggest a more comprehensive view of the gene networks governing SA function and provide a framework for further interrogation of the important roles of SA and possibly other signaling molecules in regulating plant disease resistance.


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