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Overexpression of (At)NPR1 in rice leads to a BTH- and environment-induced lesion-mimic/cell death phenotype.


Systemic acquired resistance (SAR) is an inducible defense response that protects plants against a broad spectrum of pathogens. A central regulator of SAR in Arabidopsis is NPR1 (nonexpresser of pathogenesis-related genes). In rice, overexpression of Arabidopsis NPR1 enhances plant resistance to the bacterial pathogen Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae. This report demonstrates that overexpression of (At)NPR1 in rice also triggers a lesion-mimic/cell death (LMD) phenotype. The LMD phenotype is environmentally regulated and heritable. In addition, the development of lesions and death correlates with the expression of rice defense genes and the accumulation of hydrogen peroxide. Application of the salicylic acid (SA) analog, benzo(1,2,3) thiadiazole-7-carbothioc acid S-methyl ester (BTH), potentiates this phenotype Endogenous SA levels are reduced in rice overexpressing (At)NPR1 when compared with wildtype plants, supporting the idea that (At)NPR1 may perceive and modulate the accumulation of SA. The association of (At)NPR1 expression in rice with the development of an LMD phenotype suggests that (At)NPR1 has multiple roles in plant stress responses that may affect its efficacy as a transgenic tool for engineering broad-spectrum resistance.

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