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The Arabidopsis Downy Mildew Resistance Gene RPP8 Is Induced by Pathogens and Salicylic Acid and Is Regulated by W Box cis Elements

October 2010 , Volume 23 , Number  10
Pages  1,303 - 1,315

Toni J. Mohr, Nicole D. Mammarella, Troy Hoff, Bonnie J. Woffenden, John G. Jelesko, and John M. McDowell

Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science, Latham Hall (0329), Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, U.S.A.

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Accepted 21 May 2010.

Plants disease resistance (R) genes encode specialized receptors that are quantitative, rate-limiting defense regulators. R genes must be expressed at optimum levels to function properly. If expression is too low, downstream defense responses are not activated efficiently. Conversely, overexpression of R genes can trigger autoactivation of defenses with deleterious consequences for the plant. Little is known about R gene regulation, particularly under defense-inducing conditions. We examined regulation of the Arabidopsis thaliana gene RPP8 (resistance to Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis, isolate Emco5). RPP8 was induced in response to challenge with H. arabidopsidis or application of salicylic acid, as shown with RPP8-Luciferase transgenic plants and quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction of endogenous alleles. The RPP1 and RPP4 genes were also induced by H. arabidopsidis and salicylic acid, suggesting that some RPP genes are subject to feedback amplification. The RPP8 promoter contains three W box cis elements. Site-directed mutagenesis of all three W boxes greatly diminished RPP8 basal expression, inducibility, and resistance in transgenic plants. Motif searches indicated that the W box is the only known cis element that is statistically overrepresented in Arabidopsis nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat promoters. These results indicate that WRKY transcription factors can regulate expression of surveillance genes at the top of the defense-signaling cascade.

© 2010 The American Phytopathological Society