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Mol Plant Pathol. 2007 Jul;8(4):385-400. doi: 10.1111/j.1364-3703.2007.00399.x.

Tobacco NIMIN2 proteins control PR gene induction through transient repression early in systemic acquired resistance.

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Universität Hohenheim, Institut für Genetik, FG Allgemeine Virologie, D-70593 Stuttgart, Germany.


NPR1 (for Nonexpressor of PR genes; also known as NIM1) is a positive regulator of systemic acquired resistance (SAR) in Arabidopsis, which controls the induction of Pathogenesis-Related (PR) genes by salicylic acid (SA). NPR1 interacts with members of two protein families, TGA transcription factors and NIMIN (for NIM1-interacting) proteins. In Arabidopsis, NIMIN1, NIMIN2 and NIMIN3 constitute a small gene family of structurally related, yet distinct members. To unravel the biological significance of NIMIN interaction with NPR1, we searched a tobacco yeast two-hybrid cDNA library for NPR1- and NIMIN2-binding proteins. One NPR1 cDNA clone and three clones encoding NIMIN proteins were isolated. Although clearly similar to At NPR1, Nt NPR1 does not interact with At NIMIN3. Furthermore, all Nt NIMIN proteins identified are structurally related to At NIMIN2, thus forming a small NIMIN2 subfamily in tobacco. cDNA clones encoding At NIMIN1 or At NIMIN3 homologues were not identified. The function of NIMIN2 proteins was studied by expression of Nt NIMIN2a chimeric genes in tobacco. While constitutive NIMIN2a over-expression delayed PR-1 protein induction, suppression of NIMIN2 transcripts enhanced the accumulation of PR-1 proteins. In both cases, the effects of altered NIMIN2 transcript levels became evident foremost early in SAR. Notably, Nt NIMIN2 gene expression is elevated prior to the induction of the PR-1a gene. Together, the data suggest that, in tobacco, NIMIN2 proteins control PR-1 gene expression, and that NIMIN2-mediated control is exerted through transient PR-1 repression before SAR has fully developed. Furthermore, although sharing conserved domains and functions, tobacco and Arabidopsis NPR1 and NIMIN proteins are clearly distinct.

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