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

Modification of the expression of two NPR1 suppressors, SNC1 and SNI1, in soybean confers partial resistance to the soybean cyst nematode, Heterodera glycines

Andrea Maldonado A , Reham Youssef A B , Margaret McDonald A , Eric Brewer A , Hunter Beard A and Benjamin Matthews A C

A United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Soybean Genomics and Improvement Laboratory, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA.

B Plant Protection Department, Faculty of Agriculture Fayoum University, Fayoum 63514, Egypt.

C Corresponding author. Email: ben.matthews@ars.usda.gov

Functional Plant Biology 41(7) 714-726 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/FP13323
Submitted: 2 November 2013  Accepted: 23 January 2014   Published: 26 March 2014

Abstract

Systemic acquired resistance (SAR) is an enhanced defence response triggered when plants detect a pathogen. The response is extended to uninfected organs to protect against future attack. NPR1 is a nuclear leucine-rich repeat protein with a key role in SAR. It binds specifically to salicylic acid, and acts as a transcriptional coregulator of SAR activators and an inhibitor of transcriptional repressors. The proteins encoded by Suppressor of NPR1, Constitutive (SNC1) and Suppressor of NPR1, Inducible (SNI1) interact with NPR1 to regulate the expression of pathogenesis-related genes. The Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. snc1 mutant exhibits a constitutive resistance response, but in the sni1 mutant, the SNI1 protein is rendered incapable of suppressing pathogen resistance genes. To study the influence of SNC1 and SNI1 on resistance to the soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines), soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) roots were separately transformed with four constructs designed to: (i) overexpress GmSNC1, the soybean orthologue of AtSNC1; (ii) overexpress AtSNI1; (iii) silence GmSNC1 and (iv) silence GmSNI1. A significant reduction of the female nematode population was observed in Treatments (i) and (iv). The expression of SAR marker genes was analysed in these treatments. The unusual pattern of expression of pathogen resistance genes shows there are differences in the effect resistance genes have on soybean and A. thaliana. Although NPR1 is involved in the cross-talk between the salicylic acid, jasmonic acid and ethylene pathways, understanding the nematode resistance mechanism in plants is still imprecise. These results provide further insights into the soybean defence response.

Additional keywords: gene silencing, Glycine max, osmotin, overexpression, plant defence, transgenic.


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