The potato StMKK5-StSIPK module enhances resistance to Phytophthora pathogens through activating the salicylic acid and ethylene signalling pathways

Hui Yang, Xiaokang Chen, Ruixin Yang, Jing Cheng, Yong Chen, Matthieu H.A.J. Joosten, Yu Du*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades play pivotal roles in plant responses to both biotic and abiotic stress. A screen of a Nicotiana benthamiana cDNA virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) library for altered plant responses to inoculation with Phytophthora infestans previously identified an NbMKK gene, encoding a clade D MAPKK that we renamed as NbMKK5, which is involved in immunity to P. infestans. To study the role of the potato orthologous gene, referred to as StMKK5, in the response to P. infestans, we transiently overexpressed StMKK5 in N. benthamiana and observed that cell death occurred at 2 days postinfiltration. Silencing of the highly conserved eukaryotic protein SGT1 delayed the StMKK5-induced cell death, whereas silencing of the MAPK-encoding gene NbSIPK completely abolished the cell death response. Further investigations showed that StMKK5 interacts with, and directly phosphorylates, StSIPK. Furthermore, both StMKK5 and StSIPK trigger salicylic acid (SA)- and ethylene (Eth)-related gene expression, and co-expression of the salicylate hydroxylase NahG with the negative regulator of Eth signalling CTR1 hampers StSIPK-triggered cell death. This observation indicates that the cell death triggered by StMKK5-StSIPK is dependent on the combination of SA- and Eth-signalling. By introducing point mutations, we showed that the kinase activity of both StMKK5 and StSIPK is required for triggering cell death. Genetic analysis showed that StMKK5 depends on StSIPK to trigger plant resistance. Thus, our results define a potato StMKK5-SIPK module that positively regulates immunity to P. infestans via activation of both the SA and Eth signalling pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-412
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Plant Pathology
Volume24
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

Keywords

  • ethylene
  • MAPK
  • Phytophthora infestans
  • plant resistance
  • salicylic acid

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