Year of Publication

2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Agriculture

Department

Plant Pathology

First Advisor

Dr. Aardra Kachroo

Abstract

The conserved metabolites, oleic acid (18:1), a major monounsaturated fatty acid (FA), and glycerol-3-phosphate (G3P) are obligatory precursors of glycerolipid biosynthesis in plants. In Arabidopsis, the SSI2-encoded SACPD is the major isoform that contributes to 18:1 biosynthesis. Signaling induced upon reduction in oleic acid (18:1) levels not only upregulates salicylic acid (SA)-mediated responses but also inhibits jasmonic acid (JA)- inducible defenses. I examined the transcription profile of ssi2 plants and identified two transcription factors, WRKY50 and WRKY51. Although the ssi2 wrky50 and ssi2 wrky51 plants were constitutively upregulated in SA-derived signaling, they were restored in JAdependent defense signaling. Not only did these plants show JA-inducible PDF1.2 expression, but they were also restored for basal resistance to the necrotrophic pathogen, Botrytis cinerea. Overall, my results show that the WRKY50 and WRKY51 proteins mediate both SA- and low 18:1-dependent repression of JA signaling in Arabidopsis plants.

My studies also show that cellular G3P levels are important for plant defense to necrotrophic pathogens. I showed that G3P levels are induced in Arabidopsis in response to the necrotrophic fungal pathogen B. cinerea. G3P-dependant induction of basal defense is not via the activities of other defense-related hormones such as SA, JA or the phytoalexin camalexin. Arabidopsis mutants unable to accumulate G3P (gly1, gli1) showed enhanced susceptibility to B. cinerea.

Previous studies in our lab identified acyl-carrier protein 4 (ACP4), a component of FA and lipid biosynthesis, as an important regulator of plant systemic immunity. ACP4 mutant plants were defective in systemic acquired resistance (SAR) because they contained a defective cuticle. I further investigated the role of the plant cuticle in SAR by studying the involvement of long-chain acyl-CoA synthetases (LACS), a gene family involved in long-chain FA and cuticle biosynthesis, in SAR. In all, eight lacs mutants (lacs1, lacs2, lacs3, lacs4, lacs6, lacs7, lacs8, lacs9) were isolated and characterized. Six mutants were compromised in SAR. Together, my studies show that the various LACS isoforms contribute differentially to both cuticle formation and systemic immunity in Arabidopsis.

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