Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Overexpression of a pepper CaERF5 gene in tobacco plants enhances resistance to Ralstonia solanacearum infection

Yan Lai A , Fengfeng Dang A , Jing Lin A , Lu Yu A , Jinhui Lin A , Yufen Lei A , Chengcong Chen A , Zhiqin Liu A , Ailian Qiu A , Shaoliang Mou A , Deyi Guan A B , Yang Wu C and Shuilin He A B D

A Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou, Fujian 350002, China.

B National Education Minster Key laboratory of Plant Genetic Improvement and Comprehensive Utilisation, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou, Fujian 350002, China.

C Jinggangshan University, Jian, Jiangxi 343009, China.

D Corresponding author. Email: shlhe201304@aliyun.com

Functional Plant Biology 41(7) 758-767 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/FP13305
Submitted: 19 October 2013  Accepted: 13 January 2014   Published: 17 February 2014

Abstract

ETHYLENE RESPONSE FACTORs (ERF) transcription factors (TFs) constitute a large transcriptional regulator family belonging to the AP2/ERF superfamily and are implicated in a range of biological processes. However, the specific roles of individual ERF family members in biotic or abiotic stress responses and the underlying molecular mechanism still need to be elucidated. In the present study, a cDNA encoding a member of ethylene response factor (ERF) transcription factor, CaERF5, was isolated from pepper. Sequence analysis showed that CaERF5 contains a typical 59 amino acid AP2/ERF DNA-binding domain, two highly conserved amino acid residues (14th alanine (A) and 19th aspartic acid (D)), a putative nuclear localisation signal (NLS), a CMIX-2 motif in the N-terminal region and two putative MAP kinase phosphorylation site CMIX-5 and CMIX-6 motifs. It belongs to group IXb of the ERF subfamily. A CaERF5-green fluorescence protein (GFP) fusion transiently expressed in onion epidermal cells localised to the nucleus. CaERF5 transcripts were induced by Ralstonia solanacearum infection, salicylic acid (SA), methyl jasmonate (MeJA) and ethephon (ETH) treatments. Constitutive expression of the CaERF5 gene in tobacco plants upregulated transcript levels of a set of defence- related genes and enhanced resistance to R. solanacearum infection. Our results suggest that CaERF5 acts as a positive regulator in plant resistance to R. solanacearum infection and show that overexpression of this transcription factor can be used as a tool to enhance disease resistance in crop species.

Additional keywords: disease resistance, ethylene response factor, pepper.


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