Salicylic acid biosynthesis is enhanced and contributes to increased biotrophic pathogen resistance in Arabidopsis hybrids.


Heterosis, the phenotypic superiority of a hybrid over its parents, has been demonstrated for many traits in Arabidopsis thaliana, but its effect on defence remains largely unexplored. Here, we show that hybrids between some A. thaliana accessions show increased resistance to the biotrophic bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato (Pst) DC3000. Comparisons of transcriptomes between these hybrids and their parents after inoculation reveal that several key salicylic acid (SA) biosynthesis genes are significantly upregulated in hybrids. Moreover, SA levels are higher in hybrids than in either parent. Increased resistance to Pst DC3000 is significantly compromised in hybrids of pad4 mutants in which the SA biosynthesis pathway is blocked. Finally, increased histone H3 acetylation of key SA biosynthesis genes correlates with their upregulation in infected hybrids. Our data demonstrate that enhanced activation of SA biosynthesis in A. thaliana hybrids may contribute to their increased resistance to a biotrophic bacterial pathogen.





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Publication Info

Yang, Li, Bosheng Li, Xiao-yu Zheng, Jigang Li, Mei Yang, Xinnian Dong, Guangming He, Chengcai An, et al. (2015). Salicylic acid biosynthesis is enhanced and contributes to increased biotrophic pathogen resistance in Arabidopsis hybrids. Nat Commun, 6. p. 7309. 10.1038/ncomms8309 Retrieved from

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Xinnian Dong

Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Biology

Using Arabidopsis thaliana as a model system, my laboratory studies the mechanisms of plant defense against microbial pathogens. We focus on a specific response known as systemic acquired resistance (SAR). SAR, which can be induced by a local infection, provides the plants with long lasting, systemic resistance against a broad spectrum of pathogens. Salicylic acid (SA; an active ingredient of aspirin) has been found to be the endogenous signal of SAR. Using a genetic approach, our laboratory identified genes involved in the regulation of SAR. Molecular and genetic analyses are being carried out to understand the gene function and to elucidate the SAR signaling pathway. These SAR-regulating genes are also favorite targets for molecular engineering of disease-resistance crops.

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