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Plant J. 2010 Dec;64(6):912-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2010.04387.x. Epub 2010 Nov 4.

Transcriptional reprogramming regulated by WRKY18 and WRKY40 facilitates powdery mildew infection of Arabidopsis.

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Department of Plant Microbe Interaction, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Carl-von-Linne-Weg 10, Cologne 50829, Germany.


The two closely related Arabidopsis transcription factors, WRKY18 and WRKY40, play a major and partly redundant role in PAMP-triggered basal defense. We monitored the transcriptional reprogramming induced by the powdery mildew fungus, Golovinomyces orontii, during early stages of infection with respect to the role of WRKY18/40. Expression of >1300 Arabidopsis genes was differentially altered already 8 hours post infection (hpi), indicating rapid pre-penetration signaling between the pathogen and the host. We found that WRKY18/40 negatively affects pre-invasion host defenses and deduced a subset of genes that appear to be under WRKY18/40 control. A mutant lacking the WRKY18/40 repressors executes pathogen-dependent but exaggerated expression of some defense genes leading, for example, to strongly elevated levels of camalexin. This implies that WRKY18/40 act in a feedback repression system controlling basal defense. Moreover, using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), direct in vivo interactions of WRKY40 to promoter regions containing W box elements of the regulatory gene EDS1, the AP2-type transcription factor gene RRTF1 and to JAZ8, a member of the JA-signaling repressor gene family were demonstrated. Our data support a model in which WRKY18/40 negatively modulate the expression of positive regulators of defense such as CYP71A13, EDS1 and PAD4, but positively modulate the expression of some key JA-signaling genes by partly suppressing the expression of JAZ repressors.

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