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Overexpression of Brassica napus MPK4 Enhances Resistance to Sclerotinia sclerotiorum in Oilseed Rape

March 2009 , Volume 22 , Number  3
Pages  235 - 244

Zheng Wang, Han Mao, Caihua Dong, Ruiqin Ji, Li Cai, Hao Fu, and Shengyi Liu

The Key Laboratory of Genetic Improvement for Oil Crops, the Ministry of Agriculture, P. R. China, and Department of Functional Genomics and Molecular Biology, Oil Crops Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Wuhan 430062, P. R. China

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Accepted 8 November 2008.

Sclerotinia sclerotiorum causes a highly destructive disease in oilseed rape (Brassica napus) resulting in significant economic losses. Studies on the Arabidopsis thaliana MPK4 loss-of-function mutant have implicated that AtMPK4 is involved in plant defense regulation, and its effect on disease resistance varies in different plant--pathogen interactions. In this study, we isolated a B. napus mitogen-activated protein kinase, BnMPK4, and found that BnMPK4 along with PDF1.2 are inducible in resistant line Zhongshuang9 but both are consistently suppressed in susceptible line 84039 after inoculation with S. sclerotiorum. Transgenic oilseed rape overexpressing BnMPK4 markedly enhances resistance to S. sclerotiorum and Botrytis cinerea. Further experiments showed that transgenic plants inhibited growth of S. sclerotiorum and constitutively activated PDF1.2 but decreased H2O2 production and constitutively suppressed PR-1 expression. Treatment of roots of the transgenic plants with H2O2 solution resulted in enhanced susceptibility to the two pathogens. Our results support the idea that MPK4 positively regulates jasmonic acid-mediated defense response, which might play an important role in resistance to S. sclerotiorum in oilseed rape.

© 2009 The American Phytopathological Society