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Increased Resistance Against Citrus Canker Mediated by a Citrus Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase

October 2013 , Volume 26 , Number  10
Pages  1,190 - 1,199

Maria Luiza Peixoto de Oliveira,1 Caio Cesar de Lima Silva,1 Valéria Yukari Abe,1 Marcio Gilberto Cardoso Costa,2 Raúl Andrés Cernadas,1 and Celso Eduardo Benedetti1

1Laboratório Nacional de Biociências (LNBio), Centro Nacional de Pesquisa em Energia e Materiais (CNPEM), CP6192, CEP 13083-970, Campinas, SP, Brazil; 2Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, Ilhéus, BA, Brazil

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Accepted 14 June 2013.

Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) play crucial roles in plant immunity. We previously identified a citrus MAPK (CsMAPK1) as a differentially expressed protein in response to infection by Xanthomonas aurantifolii, a bacterium that causes citrus canker in Mexican lime but a hypersensitive reaction in sweet oranges. Here, we confirm that, in sweet orange, CsMAPK1 is rapidly and preferentially induced by X. aurantifolii relative to Xanthomonas citri. To investigate the role of CsMAPK1 in citrus canker resistance, we expressed CsMAPK1 in citrus plants under the control of the PR5 gene promoter, which is induced by Xanthomonas infection and wounding. Increased expression of CsMAPK1 correlated with a reduction in canker symptoms and a decrease in bacterial growth. Canker lesions in plants with higher CsMAPK1 levels were smaller and showed fewer signs of epidermal rupture. Transgenic plants also revealed higher transcript levels of defense-related genes and a significant accumulation of hydrogen peroxide in response to wounding or X. citri infection. Accordingly, nontransgenic sweet orange leaves accumulate both CsMAPK1 and hydrogen peroxide in response to X. aurantifolii but not X. citri infection. These data, thus, indicate that CsMAPK1 functions in the citrus canker defense response by inducing defense gene expression and reactive oxygen species accumulation during infection.

© 2013 The American Phytopathological Society