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Generation of Chinese cabbage resistant to bacterial soft rot by heterologous expression of Arabidopsis WRKY75

Abstract

Soft rot caused by Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. carotovorum (Pcc) is a serious disease in Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa L. subsp. pekinensis). To reduce the severity of soft rot symptoms in Chinese cabbage, Arabidopsis AtWRKY75 was introduced into Chinese cabbage by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation, which was previously reported to reduce susceptibility to Pcc infection in Arabidopsis. Three independent Chinese cabbage transgenic lines carrying AtWRKY75 were obtained. The growth phenotypes of AtWRKY75 overexpression (OE) lines were normal. Bacterial soft rot symptoms and Pcc growth were reduced in AtWRKY75-OE Chinese cabbage lines compared with WT plants. In contrast, overexpression of AtWRKY75 had no effect on infection with a hemibiotrophic pathogen, Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris (Xcc) causing black rot disease. These results are consistent with those observed in the transgenic Arabidopsis. We found that AtWRKY75 activated a subset of Chinese cabbage genes related to defense against Pcc infection, such as Meri15B, BrPR4, and BrPDF1.2 (but not BrPGIP2). Moreover, overexpression of AtWRKY75 caused H2O2 production and activation of H2O2 scavenge enzyme genes, suggesting that H2O2 played a role in AtWRKY75-mediated resistance to Pcc. Together, these results demonstrated that AtWRKY75 decreased the severity of Pcc-caused bacterial soft rot and activated a subset of Pcc infection defense-related genes in Chinese cabbage similar to in Arabidopsis. It is suggested that AtWRKY75 is a candidate gene for use in crop improvement, because it results in reduced severity of disease symptoms without concurrent growth abnormalities.

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Acknowledgments

We thank Park Eun Mee from the Rural Development Administration (RDA) for generation of transgenic Chinese cabbage. This work was supported by two Grants (PJ01087001 and PJ01109104) from the RDA to Dr. Duk-Ju Hwang.

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Correspondence to Duk-Ju Hwang.

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Choi, C., Park, S., Ahn, I. et al. Generation of Chinese cabbage resistant to bacterial soft rot by heterologous expression of Arabidopsis WRKY75 . Plant Biotechnol Rep 10, 301–307 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11816-016-0406-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11816-016-0406-7

Keywords

  • AtWRKY75
  • Bacterial soft rot
  • Chinese cabbage
  • H2O2