Overexpression of Arabidopsis microRNA167 induces salicylic acid-dependent defense against Pseudomonas syringae through the regulation of its targets ARF6 and ARF8

Julie C. Caruana, Nikhilesh Dhar, Ramesh Raina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

microRNAs are powerful regulators of growth, development, and stress responses in plants. The Arabidopsis thaliana microRNA miR167 was previously found to regulate diverse processes including flower development, root development, and response to osmotic stress by controlling the patterns of expression of its target genes AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR 6 (ARF6), ARF8, and IAA-Ala RESISTANT 3. Here, we report that miR167 also modulates defense against pathogens through ARF6 and ARF8. miR167 is differentially expressed in response to the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae, and overexpression of miR167 confers very high levels of resistance. This resistance appears to be due to suppression of auxin responses and is partially dependent upon salicylic acid signaling, and also depends upon altered stomatal behavior in these plants. Closure of stomata upon the detection of P. syringae is an important aspect of the basal defense response, as it prevents bacterial cells from entering the leaf interior and causing infection. Plants overexpressing miR167 constitutively maintain small stomatal apertures, resulting in very high resistance when the pathogen is inoculated onto the leaf surface. Additionally, the systemic acquired resistance (SAR) response is severely compromised in plants overexpressing miR167, in agreement with previous work showing that the activation of SAR requires intact auxin signaling responses. This work highlights a new role for miR167, and also emphasizes the importance of hormonal balance in short- and long-term defense and of stomata as an initial barrier to pathogen entry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00270
JournalPlant Direct
Volume4
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

Keywords

  • auxin (AUX)
  • biotic stress
  • hormone signaling
  • microRNA
  • plant defense response
  • salicylic acid (SA)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Plant Science

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