The ERF (ethylene responsive factor) family is composed of transcription factors (TFs) that are critical for appropriate Arabidopsis thaliana responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. Here we identified and characterized a member of the ERF TF group IX, namely ERF96, that when overexpressed enhances Arabidopsis resistance to necrotrophic pathogens such as the fungus Botrytis cinerea and the bacterium Pectobacterium carotovorum. ERF96 is jasmonate (JA) and ethylene (ET) responsive and ERF96 transcripts accumulation was abolished in JA-insensitive coi1-16 and in ET-insensitive ein2-1 mutants. Protoplast transactivation and electrophoresis mobility shift analyses revealed that ERF96 is an activator of transcription that binds to GCC elements. In addition, ERF96 mainly localized to the nucleus. Microarray analysis coupled to chromatin immunoprecipitation-PCR of Arabidopsis overexpressing ERF96 revealed that ERF96 enhances the expression of the JA/ET defence genes PDF1.2a, PR-3 and PR-4 as well as the TF ORA59 by direct binding to GCC elements present in their promoters. While ERF96-RNAi plants demonstrated wild-type resistance to necrotrophic pathogens, basal PDF1.2 expression levels were reduced in ERF96-silenced plants. This work revealed ERF96 as a key player of the ERF network that positively regulates the Arabidopsis resistance response to necrotrophic pathogens.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science