Enhanced resistance of PsbS-deficient rice (Oryza sativa L.) to fungal and bacterial pathogens
JOURNAL OF PLANT BIOLOGY 2016, 59 (6):616-626
Zulfugarov IS, Tovuu A, Kim CY, Vo KTX, Ko SY, Hall M, Seok HY, Kim YK, Skogstrom O, Moon YH, Jansson S; Jeon JS, Lee CH

The 22-kDa PsbS protein of Photosystem II is involved in nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ) of chlorophyll fluorescence. Genome-wide analysis of the expression pattern in PsbS knockout (KO) rice plants showed that a lack of this protein led to changes in the transcript levels of 406 genes, presumably a result of superoxide produced in the chloroplasts. The top Gene Ontology categories, in which expression was the most differential, included ‘Immune response’, ‘Response to jasmonic acid’, and ‘MAPK cascade’. From those genes, we randomly selected nine that were up-regulated. Our microarray results were confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR analysis. The KO and PsbS RNAi (knockdown) plants were more resistant to pathogens Magnaporthe oryzae PO6-6 and Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae than either the wild-type plants or PsbS-overexpressing transgenic line. These findings suggest that superoxide production might be the reason that these plants have greater pathogen resistance to fungal and bacterial pathogens in the absence of energy-dependent NPQ. For example, a high level of cell wall lignification in the KO mutants was possibly due to enhanced superoxide production. Our data indicate that certain abiotic stress-induced reactive oxygen species can promote specific signaling pathways, which then activate a defense mechanism against biotic stress in PsbS-KO rice plants.

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