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PLoS One. 2011 Apr 21;6(4):e19028. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0019028.

Trans-repression of gene activity upstream of T-DNA tagged RLK902 links Arabidopsis root growth inhibition and downy mildew resistance.

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Molecular Genetics, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Receptor-like kinases (RLKs) constitute a large family of signal perception molecules in Arabidopsis. The largest group of RLKs is the leucine-rich repeat (LRR) class that has been described to function in development and defense. Of these, CLAVATA1 (CLV1) and ERECTA (ER) receptors function in maintaining shoot meristem homeostasis and organ growth, but LRR RLKs with similar function in the root remain unknown. For the interaction of Arabidopsis with the oomycete pathogen Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis the involvement of LRR RLKs has not been demonstrated. A set of homozygous T-DNA insertion lines mutated in LRR RLKs was investigated to assess the potential role of these receptors in root meristem maintenance and compatibility. One mutant line, rlk902, was discovered that showed both reduced root growth and resistance to downy mildew in a recessive manner. The phenotypes of this mutated line could not be rescued by complementation, but are nevertheless linked to the T-DNA insertion. Microarray studies showed that gene expression spanning a region of approximately 84 kb upstream of the mutated gene was downregulated. The results suggest T-DNA mediated trans-repression of multiple genes upstream of the RLK902 locus links both phenotypes.

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