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Plant Cell. 1994 Dec;6(12):1845-57.

A mutation in Arabidopsis that leads to constitutive expression of systemic acquired resistance.

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  • 1Department of Botany, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708-1000.


Systemic acquired resistance (SAR) is a nonspecific defense response in plants that is associated with an increase in the endogenous level of salicylic acid (SA) and elevated expression of pathogenesis-related (PR) genes. To identify mutants involved in the regulation of PR genes and the onset of SAR, we transformed Arabidopsis with a reporter gene containing the promoter of a beta-1,3-glucanase-encoding PR gene (BGL2) and the coding region of beta-glucuronidase (GUS). The resulting transgenic line (BGL2-GUS) was mutagenized, and the M2 progeny were scored for constitutive GUS activity. We report the characterization of one mutant, cpr1 (constitutive expressor of PR genes), that was identified in this screen and shown by RNA gel blot analysis also to have elevated expression of the endogenous PR genes BGL2, PR-1, and PR-5. Genetic analyses indicated that the phenotype conferred by cpr1 is caused by a single, recessive nuclear mutation and is suppressed in plants producing a bacterial salicylate hydroxylase, which inactivates SA. Furthermore, biochemical analysis showed that the endogenous level of SA is elevated in the mutant. Finally, the cpr1 plants were found to be resistant to the fungal pathogen Peronospora parasitica NOCO2 and the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv maculicola ES4326, which are virulent in wild-type BGL2-GUS plants. Because the cpr1 mutation is recessive and associated with an elevated endogenous level of SA, we propose that the CPR1 gene product acts upstream of SA as a negative regulator of SAR.

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