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NPR1 Differentially Interacts with Members of the TGA/OBF Family of Transcription Factors That Bind an Element of the PR-1 Gene Required for Induction by Salicylic Acid

February 2000 , Volume 13 , Number  2
Pages  191 - 202

Jun-Ma Zhou , 1 Youssef Trifa , 1 Herman Silva , 1 Dominique Pontier , 2 Eric Lam , 2 Jyoti Shah , 1 and Daniel F. Klessig 1

1Waksman Institute and Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 190 Frelinghuysen Road, Piscataway 08854-8020, U.S.A.; 2AgBiotech Center, Cook College, Foran Hall, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 59 Dudley Road, New Brunswick 08903, U.S.A.

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Accepted 21 October 1999.

NPR1 is a critical component of the salicylic acid (SA)-mediated signal transduction pathway leading to the induction of defense genes, such as the pathogenesis-related (PR)-1 gene, and enhanced disease resistance. Using a yeast two-hybrid screen, we identified several NPR1-interacting proteins (NIPs). Two of these NIPs are members of the TGA/OBF family of basic leucine zipper (bZIP) transcription factors; this family has been implicated in the activation of SA-responsive genes, including PR-1. Six TGA family members were tested and shown to differentially interact with NPR1: TGA2 and TGA3 showed strong affinity for NPR1; TGA5 and TGA6 exhibited weaker affinity; and TGA1 and TGA4 displayed little or no detectable interaction with NPR1, respectively. Interestingly, the amino-termini of these factors were found to decrease their stability in yeast and differentially affect their apparent affinity toward NPR1. The interacting regions on NPR1 and the TGA factors were also defined. Each of four point mutations in NPR1 that disrupt SA signaling in Arabidopsis completely blocked interaction of NPR1 with TGA2 and TGA3. TGA2 and TGA3 were also found to bind the SA-responsive element of the Arabidopsis PR-1 promoter. These results directly link NPR1 to SA-induced PR-1 expression through members of the TGA family of transcription factors.

© 2000 The American Phytopathological Society