Potato StMPK7 is a downstream component of StMKK1 and promotes resistance to the oomycete pathogen Phytophthora infestans

Houxiao Zhang, Fangfang Li, Zhenzhen Li, Jing Cheng, Xiaokang Chen, Qinhu Wang, Matthieu H.A.J. Joosten, Weixing Shan, Yu Du*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


A cascade formed by phosphorylation events of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) takes part in plant stress responses. However, the roles of these MAPKs in resistance of potato (Solanum tuberosum) against Phytophthora pathogens is not well studied. Our previous work showed that a Phytophthora infestans RXLR effector targets and stabilizes the negative regulator of MAPK kinase 1 of potato (StMKK1). Because in Arabidopsis thaliana the AtMPK4 is the downstream phosphorylation target of AtMKK1, we performed a phylogenetic analysis and found that potato StMPK4/6/7 are closely related and are orthologs of AtMPK4/5/11/12. Overexpression of StMPK4/7 enhances plant resistance to P. infestans and P. parasitica. Yeast two-hybrid analysis revealed that StMPK7 interacts with StMKK1, and StMPK7 is phosphorylated on flg22 treatment and by expressing constitutively active StMKK1 (CA-StMKK1), indicating that StMPK7 is a direct downstream signalling partner of StMKK1. Overexpression of StMPK7 in potato enhances potato resistance to P. infestans. Constitutively active StMPK7 (CA-StMPK7; StMPK7D198G, E202A) was found to promote immunity to Phytophthora pathogens and to trigger host cell death when overexpressed in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves. Cell death triggered by CA-StMPK7 is SGT1/RAR1-dependent. Furthermore, cell death triggered by CA-StMPK7 is suppressed on coexpression with the salicylate hydroxylase NahG, and StMPK7 activation promotes salicylic acid (SA)-responsive gene expression. We conclude that potato StMPK7 is a downstream signalling component of the phosphorelay cascade involving StMKK1 and StMPK7 plays a role in immunity to Phytophthora pathogens via an SA-dependent signalling pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)644-657
JournalMolecular Plant Pathology
Issue number6
Early online date25 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • MAPK
  • oomycete
  • Phytophthora infestans
  • plant resistance
  • potato


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