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J Biol Chem. 2011 Apr 22;286(16):14129-36. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.225086. Epub 2011 Mar 4.

Tomato 14-3-3 protein TFT7 interacts with a MAP kinase kinase to regulate immunity-associated programmed cell death mediated by diverse disease resistance proteins.

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Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.


Programmed cell death (PCD) associated with immunity is triggered when a plant disease resistance (R) protein recognizes a corresponding pathogen virulence protein. In tomato, detection by the host Pto kinase of the Pseudomonas syringae proteins AvrPto or AvrPtoB causes localized PCD. Previously, we reported that both MAPKKKα (mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase) and the tomato 14-3-3 protein 7 (TFT7) positively regulate Pto-mediated PCD in tomato and Nicotiana benthamiana. In addition, in contrast to MAPKKKα, TFT7 is required for PCD mediated by four other R proteins. Here we investigate why TFT7 is required for PCD induced by diverse R proteins in plants. We discovered that a MAPKK, SlMKK2, which acts downstream of SlMAPKKKα, also interacts with TFT7 in plant cells. Gene silencing experiments revealed that the orthologous genes of both SlMKK2 and TFT7 in N. benthamiana are required for PCD mediated by the same set of R proteins. SlMKK2 and its orthologs contain a 14-3-3 binding site in their N terminus, and Thr(33) in this site is required for interaction with TFT7 in vivo. Like the structurally similar human 14-3-3ε protein, TFT7 forms a homodimer in vivo. Because TFT7 interacts with both SlMAPKKKα and SlMKK2 and also forms a homodimer, we propose that TFT7 may coordinately recruit these client proteins for efficient signal transfer, leading to PCD induction.

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