Center for Plant Cell Biology, Institute for Integrative Genome Biology, Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, University of California at Riverside, CA 92521, U.S.A.
The Arabidopsis thaliana gene enhanced downy mildew 2 (EDM2) encodes a nuclear protein required for RPP7-mediated race-specific disease resistance against Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis, proper floral transition and additional developmental processes. Transcript levels of the disease-resistance gene RPP7 are enhanced by EDM2 while those of the floral suppressor FLC are repressed by EDM2. By yeast two-hybrid screening for EDM2-interacting proteins, we identified AtEML1, a member of a small group of four Arabidopsis proteins containing an EMSY N-terminal domain, a central Agenet domain, and a C-terminal coiled-coil motif. Using T-DNA mutants combined with silencing by artificial microRNAs, we found AtEML1, AtEML2, and, likely, AtEML4 to contribute to RPP7-mediated immunity. Besides this, AtEML1 and AtEML2 participate in a second EDM2-dependent function and affect floral transition. Unlike EDM2, whose role in immunity appears to be limited to RPP7-mediated disease resistance, some AtEML members contribute to basal defense, an unspecific general defense mechanism. Domain architectures of EDM2 as well as AtEML proteins suggest roles of these proteins in the regulation of chromatin states. Thus, possible cooperation of AtEML members with EDM2 at the level of chromatin dynamics may link race-specific pathogen recognition to general defense mechanisms.