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Plant Physiol. 2012 Feb;158(2):876-89. doi: 10.1104/pp.111.191379. Epub 2011 Dec 9.

A CCCH-type zinc finger nucleic acid-binding protein quantitatively confers resistance against rice bacterial blight disease.

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National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement, National Center of Plant Gene Research, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China.


Bacterial blight is a devastating disease of rice (Oryza sativa) caused by Xanthomonas oryzae pv oryzae (Xoo). Zinc finger proteins harboring the motif with three conserved cysteine residues and one histidine residue (CCCH) belong to a large family. Although at least 67 CCCH-type zinc finger protein genes have been identified in the rice genome, their functions are poorly understood. Here, we report that one of the rice CCCH-type zinc finger proteins, C3H12, containing five typical CX(8)-CX(5)-CX(3)-H zinc finger motifs, is involved in the rice-Xoo interaction. Activation of C3H12 partially enhanced resistance to Xoo, accompanied by the accumulation of jasmonic acid (JA) and induced expression of JA signaling genes in rice. In contrast, knockout or suppression of C3H12 resulted in partially increased susceptibility to Xoo, accompanied by decreased levels of JA and expression of JA signaling genes in rice. C3H12 colocalized with a minor disease resistance quantitative trait locus to Xoo, and the enhanced resistance of randomly chosen plants in the quantitative trait locus mapping population correlated with an increased expression level of C3H12. The C3H12 protein localized in the nucleus and possessed nucleic acid-binding activity in vitro. These results suggest that C3H12, as a nucleic acid-binding protein, positively and quantitatively regulates rice resistance to Xoo and that its function is likely associated with the JA-dependent pathway.

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