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Plant Cell. 2004 Apr;16(4):897-907. Epub 2004 Mar 12.

Silencing of the mitogen-activated protein kinase MPK6 compromises disease resistance in Arabidopsis.

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Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA.


Here, we use a loss-of-function approach to demonstrate that the Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) MPK6 plays a role in resistance to certain pathogens. MPK6-silenced Arabidopsis showed no apparent morphological phenotype or reduced fertility, indicating MPK6 is not required for development. However, resistances to an avirulent strain of Peronospora parasitica and avirulent and virulent strains of Pseudomonas syringae were compromised, suggesting that MPK6 plays a role in both resistance gene-mediated and basal resistance. Furthermore, this result demonstrates that MPK6's function cannot be fully complemented by other endogenous MAPKs. Although MPK6-silenced plants exhibited enhanced disease susceptibility, their ability to develop systemic acquired resistance or induced systemic resistance was unaffected. Expression of the pathogen-inducible gene VEGETATIVE STORAGE PROTEIN1 (VSP1) in MPK6-silenced plants was severalfold lower than in control plants, but the expression of other defense genes was comparable to the level observed in control plants. Taken together, these results provide direct evidence that a specific MAPK positively regulates VSP1 expression and resistance to a primary infection by certain pathogens, whereas systemic resistance and expression of several other defense genes appears to be mediated either by a functionally redundant MAPK(s) or independently from MPK6-dependent resistance.

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