Global translational reprogramming is a fundamental layer of immune regulation in plants.


In the absence of specialized immune cells, the need for plants to reprogram transcription to transition from growth-related activities to defence is well understood. However, little is known about translational changes that occur during immune induction. Using ribosome footprinting, here we perform global translatome profiling on Arabidopsis exposed to the microbe-associated molecular pattern elf18. We find that during this pattern-triggered immunity, translation is tightly regulated and poorly correlated with transcription. Identification of genes with altered translational efficiency leads to the discovery of novel regulators of this immune response. Further investigation of these genes shows that messenger RNA sequence features are major determinants of the observed translational efficiency changes. In the 5' leader sequences of transcripts with increased translational efficiency, we find a highly enriched messenger RNA consensus sequence, R-motif, consisting of mostly purines. We show that R-motif regulates translation in response to pattern-triggered immunity induction through interaction with poly(A)-binding proteins. Therefore, this study provides not only strong evidence, but also a molecular mechanism, for global translational reprogramming during pattern-triggered immunity in plants.






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Publication Info

Xu, Guoyong, George H Greene, Heejin Yoo, Lijing Liu, Jorge Marqués, Jonathan Motley and Xinnian Dong (2017). Global translational reprogramming is a fundamental layer of immune regulation in plants. Nature. 10.1038/nature22371 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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