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Plant Cell. 2003 Nov;15(11):2636-46. Epub 2003 Oct 23.

A gain-of-function mutation in a plant disease resistance gene leads to constitutive activation of downstream signal transduction pathways in suppressor of npr1-1, constitutive 1.

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  • 1Biotechnology Laboratory, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z4.


Plants have evolved sophisticated defense mechanisms against pathogen infections, during which resistance (R) genes play central roles in recognizing pathogens and initiating defense cascades. Most of the cloned R genes share two common domains: the central domain, which encodes a nucleotide binding adaptor shared by APAF-1, certain R proteins, and CED-4 (NB-ARC), plus a C-terminal region that encodes Leu-rich repeats (LRR). In Arabidopsis, a dominant mutant, suppressor of npr1-1, constitutive 1 (snc1), was identified previously that constitutively expresses pathogenesis-related (PR) genes and resistance against both Pseudomonas syringae pv maculicola ES4326 and Peronospora parasitica Noco2. The snc1 mutation was mapped to the RPP4 cluster. In snc1, one of the TIR-NB-LRR-type R genes contains a point mutation that results in a single amino acid change from Glu to Lys in the region between NB-ARC and LRR. Deletions of this R gene in snc1 reverted the plants to wild-type morphology and completely abolished constitutive PR gene expression and disease resistance. The constitutive activation of the defense responses was not the result of the overexpression of the R gene, because its expression level was not altered in snc1. Our data suggest that the point mutation in snc1 renders the R gene constitutively active without interaction with pathogens. To analyze signal transduction pathways downstream of snc1, epistasis analyses between snc1 and pad4-1 or eds5-3 were performed. Although the resistance signaling in snc1 was fully dependent on PAD4, it was only partially affected by blocking salicylic acid (SA) synthesis, suggesting that snc1 activates both SA-dependent and SA-independent resistance pathways.

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