OsWRKY62 is a negative regulator of basal and Xa21-mediated defense against Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae in rice.
The rice Xa21 gene, which confers resistance to the bacterial pathogen Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo), encodes a receptor-like kinase. Few components involved in transducing the Xa21-mediated defense response have yet been identified. Here, we report that XA21 binds to a WRKY transcription factor, called OsWRKY62. The OsWRKY62 gene encodes two splice variants (OsWRKY62.1 and OsWRKY62.2). OsWRKY62.1:smGFP2 and OsWRKY62.2:smGFP2 fusion proteins partially localize to the nucleus. Transgenic plants overexpressing OsWRKY62.1 are compromised in basal defense and Xa21-mediated resistance to Xoo. Furthermore, overexpression of OsWRKY62.1 suppresses the activation of defense-related genes. These results imply that OsWRKY62 functions as a negative regulator of innate immunity in rice, and serves as a critical mediator of both basal and race-specific defense responses.