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J Exp Bot. 2018 Aug 14;69(18):4443-4457. doi: 10.1093/jxb/ery227.

The calcium sensor TaCBL4 and its interacting protein TaCIPK5 are required for wheat resistance to stripe rust fungus.

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State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology for Arid Areas, College of Plant Protection, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, Shaanxi, P. R. China.


Calcineurin B-like proteins (CBLs) act as Ca2+ sensors to activate specific protein kinases, namely CBL-interacting protein kinases (CIPKs). Recent research has demonstrated that the CBL-CIPK complex is not only required for abiotic stress signaling, but is also probably involved in biotic stress perception. However, the role of this complex in immune signaling, including pathogen perception, is unknown. In this study, we isolated one signaling component of the TaCBL-TaCIPK complex (TaCBL4-TaCIPK5) and characterized its role in the interaction between wheat (Triticum aestivum) and Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst, stripe rust fungus). Among all TaCBLs in wheat, TaCBL4 mRNA accumulation markedly increased after infection by Pst. Silencing of TaCBL4 resulted in enhanced susceptibility to avirulent Pst infection. In addition, screening determined that TaCIPK5 physically interacted with TaCBL4 in planta and positively contributed to wheat resistance to Pst. Moreover, the disease resistance phenotype of TaCBL4 and TaCIPK5 co-silenced plants was consistent with that of single-knockdown plants. The accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) was significantly altered in all silenced plants during Pst infection. Together these findings demonstrate that the TaCBL4-TaCIPK5 complex positively modulates wheat resistance in a ROS-dependent manner, and provide new insights into the roles of CBL-CIPK in wheat.


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