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Ethylene-Responsive Element-Binding Factor 5, ERF5, Is Involved in Chitin-Induced Innate Immunity Response

January 2012 , Volume 25 , Number  1
Pages  48 - 60

Geon Hui Son,1,2 Jinrong Wan,1 Hye Jin Kim,2 Xuan Canh Nguyen,2 Woo Sik Chung,2 Jong Chan Hong,1,2 and Gary Stacey1

1Division of Plant Sciences, University of Missouri–Columbia, Columbia 65211, U.S.A.; 2Division of Applied Life Sciences (BK21 Program), Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Research Center, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju 660-701, Korea

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Accepted 10 September 2011.

Our recent work demonstrated that chitin treatment modulated the expression of 118 transcription factor (TF) genes in Arabidopsis. To investigate the potential roles of these TF in chitin signaling and plant defense, we initiated an interaction study among these TF proteins, as well as two chitin-activated mitogen-activated protein kinases (MPK3 and MPK6), using a yeast two-hybrid system. This study revealed interactions among the following proteins: three ethylene-responsive element-binding factors (ERF), five WRKY transcription factors, one scarecrow-like (SCL), and the two MPK, in addition to many other interactions, reflecting a complex TF interaction network. Most of these interactions were subsequently validated by other methods, such as pull-down and in planta bimolecular fluorescence complementation assays. The key node ERF5 was shown to interact with multiple proteins in the network, such as ERF6, ERF8, and SCL13, as well as MPK3 and MPK6. Interestingly, ERF5 appeared to negatively regulate chitin signaling and plant defense against the fungal pathogen Alternaria brassicicola and positively regulate salicylic acid signaling and plant defense against the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000. Therefore, ERF5 may play an important role in plant innate immunity, likely through coordinating chitin and other defense pathways in plants in response to different pathogens.

© 2012 The American Phytopathological Society