, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 577-586

Characterization of the rice pathogen-related protein Rir1a and regulation of the corresponding gene

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In rice (Oryza sativa L.), local acquired resistance against Pyricularia oryzae (Cav.), the causal agent of rice blast, can be induced by a preinoculation with the non-host pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae. We have cloned a cDNA (Rir1a) and a closely related gene (Rir1b) corresponding to transcripts that accumulate in leaf tissue upon inoculation with P. syringae pv. syringae. The cDNA encodes a putative 107 amino acid protein, Rir1a, that exhibits a putative signal peptide cleavage site in its hydrophobic N-terminal part and a C-terminal part that is relatively rich in glycine and proline. The Rir1b gene contains a Tourist and a Wanderer miniature transposable element in its single intron and encodes a nearly identical protein. Rir1a is similar in sequence (ca. 35% identical and ca. 60% conservatively changed amino acids) to the putative Wir1 family of proteins that are encoded by pathogen-induced transcripts in wheat. Using antibodies raised against a Rir1a-fusion protein we show that Rir1a is secreted from rice protoplasts transiently expressing a 35S::Rir1a construct and that the protein accumulates in the cell wall compartment of rice leaves upon inoculation with P. syringae pv. syringae. Possible roles of Rir1a in pathogen defense are discussed.