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Dev Cell. 2002 Aug;3(2):291-7.

NPK1, an MEKK1-like mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase, regulates innate immunity and development in plants.

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Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, 94720, USA.


Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades are rapidly activated upon plant recognition of invading pathogens. Here, we describe the use of virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) to study the role of candidate plant MAP kinase kinase kinase (MAPKKK) homologs of human MEKK1 in pathogen-resistance pathways. We demonstrate that silencing expression of a tobacco MAPKKK, Nicotiana Protein Kinase 1 (NPK1), interferes with the function of the disease-resistance genes N, Bs2, and Rx, but does not affect Pto- and Cf4-mediated resistance. Further, NPK1-silenced plants also exhibit reduced cell size, defective cytokinesis, and an overall dwarf phenotype. Our results provide evidence that NPK1 functions in the regulation of N-, Bs2-, and Rx-mediated resistance responses and may play a role in one or more MAPK cascades, regulating multiple cellular processes.

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