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Activation of the Arabidopsis thaliana Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase MPK11 by the Flagellin-Derived Elicitor Peptide, flg22

April 2012 , Volume 25 , Number  4
Pages  471 - 480

Gerit Bethke,1,2 Pascal Pecher,1 Lennart Eschen-Lippold,1 Kenichi Tsuda,2 Fumiaki Katagiri,2 Jane Glazebrook,2 Dierk Scheel,1 and Justin Lee1

1Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry, Stress and Developmental Biology, Weinberg 3, D-06120 Halle, Germany; and 2Department of Plant Biology, Microbial and Plant Genomics Institute, University of Minnesota, 1500 Gortner Avenue, St. Paul 55108, U.S.A.

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Accepted 16 December 2011.

Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) mediate cellular signal transduction during stress responses, as well as diverse growth and developmental processes in eukaryotes. Pathogen infection or treatments with conserved pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) such as the bacterial flagellin-derived flg22 peptide are known to activate three Arabidopsis thaliana MAPK: MPK3, MPK4, and MPK6. Several stresses, including flg22 treatment, are known to increase MPK11 expression but activation of MPK11 has not been shown. Here, we show that MPK11 activity can, indeed, be increased through flg22 elicitation. A small-scale microarray for profiling defense-related genes revealed that cinnamyl alcohol dehyrogenase 5 requires MPK11 for full flg22-induced expression. An mpk11 mutant showed increased flg22-mediated growth inhibition but no altered susceptibility to Pseudomonas syringae, Botrytis cinerea, or Alternaria brassicicola. In mpk3, mpk6, or mpk4 backgrounds, MPK11 is required for embryo or seed development or general viability. Although this developmental deficiency in double mutants and the lack of or only subtle mpk11 phenotypes suggest functional MAPK redundancies, comparison with the paralogous MPK4 reveals distinct functions. Taken together, future investigations of MAPK roles in stress signaling should include MPK11 as a fourth PAMP-activated MAPK.

© 2012 The American Phytopathological Society