Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, South Africa 7701
Basal resistance is the ultimately unsuccessful plant defense response to infection with a virulent pathogen. It is thought to be triggered by host recognition of pathogen-associated molecular patterns, with subsequent suppression of particular components by pathogen effectors. To identify novel components of Arabidopsis basal resistance against the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato, microarray expression profiling was carried out on the cir1 mutant, which displays enhanced resistance against P. syringae pv. tomato. This identified two genes, At4g23810 and At2g40000, encoding the transcription factor WRKY53 and the nematode resistance protein-like HSPRO2, whose expression was upregulated in cir1 prior to pathogen infection and in wild-type plants after P. syringae pv. tomato infection. WRKY53 and HSPRO2 are positive regulators of basal resistance. Knockout mutants of both genes were more susceptible to P. syringae pv. tomato infection than complemented lines, with increased growth of the pathogen in planta. WRKY53 and HSPRO2 appear to function downstream of salicylic acid and to be negatively regulated by signaling through jasmonic acid and ethylene.