Arabidopsis bZIP11 is a susceptibility factor during Pseudomonas syringae infection
Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2021 Jan 5 Epub ahead of print
Prior MJ, Selvanayagam J, Kim JG, Tomar M, Jonikas M, Mudgett MB, Smeekens S, Hanson J, Frommer WB

The induction of plant nutrient secretion systems is critical for successful pathogen infection. Some bacterial pathogens, e.g. Xanthomonas species, use TAL (transcription activator-like) effectors to induce transcription of SWEET sucrose efflux transporters. Pseudomonas syringae pathovar (pv.) tomato strain DC3000 lacks TAL effectors, yet is able to induce multiple SWEETs in Arabidopsis thaliana by unknown mechanisms. Since bacteria require other nutrients besides sugars for efficient reproduction, we hypothesized that Pseudomonas may depend on host transcription factors involved in secretory programs to increase access to essential nutrients. Bioinformatic analyses identified the Arabidopsis basic-leucine zipper transcription factor bZIP11 as a potential regulator of nutrient transporters, including SWEETs and UmamiT amino acid transporters. Inducible downregulation of bZIP11 expression in Arabidopsis resulted in reduced growth of P. syringae pv. tomato strain DC3000, whereas inducible overexpression of bZIP11 resulted in increased bacterial growth, supporting the hypothesis that bZIP11 regulated transcription programs are essential for maximal pathogen titer in leaves. Our data are consistent with a model in which a pathogen alters host transcription factor expression upstream of secretory transcription networks to promote nutrient efflux from host cells.

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