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GhWRKY40, a multiple stress-responsive cotton WRKY gene, plays an important role in the wounding response and enhances susceptibility to ralstonia solanacearum infection in transgenic Nicotiana benthamiana.

ABSTRACT: WRKY transcription factors form one of the largest transcription factor families and function as important components in the complex signaling processes that occur during plant stress responses. However, relative to the research progress in model plants, far less information is available on the function of WRKY proteins in cotton. In the present study, we identified the GhWRKY40 gene in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) and determined that the GhWRKY40 protein is targeted to the nucleus and is a stress-inducible transcription factor. The GhWRKY40 transcript level was increased upon wounding and infection with the bacterial pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum. The overexpression of GhWRKY40 down-regulated most of the defense-related genes, enhanced the wounding tolerance and increased the susceptibility to R. solanacearum. Consistent with a role in multiple stress responses, we found that the GhWRKY40 transcript level was increased by the stress hormones salicylic acid (SA), methyl jasmonate (MeJA) and ethylene (ET). Moreover, GhWRKY40 interacted with the MAPK kinase GhMPK20, as shown using yeast two-hybrid and bimolecular fluorescence complementation systems. Collectively, these results suggest that GhWRKY40 is regulated by SA, MeJA and ET signaling and coordinates responses to wounding and R. solanacearum attack. These findings highlight the importance of WRKYs in regulating wounding- and pathogen-induced responses.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3991585 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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