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Mol Plant. 2008 May;1(3):552-9. doi: 10.1093/mp/ssn017. Epub 2008 Apr 22.

Strong suppression of systemic acquired resistance in Arabidopsis by NRR is dependent on its ability to interact with NPR1 and its putative repression domain.

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Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Systemic Acquired Resistance (SAR) in plants confers lasting broad-spectrum resistance to pathogens and requires the phytohormone salicylic acid (SA). Arabidopsis NPR1/NIM1 is a key regulator of the SAR response. Studies attempting to reveal the function of NPR1 and how it mediates SA signaling have led to isolation of two classes of proteins that interact with NPR1: the first class includes rice NRR, Arabidopsis NIMIN1, NIMIN2, and NIMIN3, and tobacco NIMIN2-like proteins; the second class belongs to TGA transcription factors. We have previously shown that overexpression of NRR in rice suppresses both basal and Xa21-mediated resistance. In order to test whether NRR affects SA-induced, NPR1-mediated SAR, we have transformed Arabidopsis with the rice NRR gene and tested its effects on the defense response. Expression of NRR in Arabidopsis results in suppression of PR gene induction by SAR inducer and resistance to pathogens. These phenotypes are even more severe than those of the npr1-1 mutant. The ability of NRR to suppress PR gene induction and disease resistance is correlated with its ability to bind to NPR1 because two point mutations in NRR, which reduce NPR1 binding, fail to suppress NPR1. In contrast, wild-type and a mutant NRR, which still binds to NPR1 strongly, retain the ability to suppress the SAR response. Replacing the C-terminal 79 amino acids of NRR with the VP16 activation domain turns the fusion protein into a transcriptional co-activator. These results indicate that NRR binds to NPR1 in vivo in a protein complex to inhibit transcriptional activation of PR genes and that NRR contains a transcription repression domain for active repression.

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