The role of Arabidopsis SRFR1 in defense against the beet cyst nematode Heterodera schachtii and beet army worm Spodoptera exigua
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Plants are constantly exposed to a variety of pathogenic microbes and pests. Thus, plants have developed diverse mechanisms to fine-tune defense responses to different types of enemies. Cross-regulation between these signaling pathways may be one mechanism that allows the plant to prioritize one response over the other. Then what is the relationship between biotrophic microbe- and herbivorous insect-triggered resistance pathways? In previous work, we identified SRFR1 as a negative regulator of effector triggered immunity against the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato. SRFR1 encodes a novel tetratricopeptide repeat-containing protein that is conserved between plants and animals but unknown function. Interestingly, we found that the srfr1 mutant also shows enhanced resistance to both the cyst nematode Heterodera schachtii and the chewing insect Spodoptera exigua. These enhanced resistance of srfr1 as compared to wild type Arabidopsis was measurable as a reduction in female cysts on roots after nematode infection, and as a decrease in mean larval weight and in leaf damage after insect feeding. In Arabidopsis, resistance to cyst nematodes and chewing insects is often regulated by the plant hormones salicylic acid, jasmonic acid and ethylene. Therefore, my research focuses on analyzing candidate genes in phytohormone regulated defense pathway to elucidate the broad-spectrum enhanced resistance in mutant srfr1.
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