STRESS INDUCED FACTOR 2, a leucine-rich repeat kinase regulates basal plant pathogen defense

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Protein kinases play fundamental roles in plant development and environmental stress responses. Here, we identified the STRESS INDUCED FACTOR (SIF) gene family, which encodes four leucine-rich repeat receptor-like protein kinases in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). The four genes, SIF1 to SIF4, are clustered in the genome and highly conserved, but they have temporally and spatially distinct expression patterns. We employed Arabidopsis SIF knockout mutants and overexpression transgenics to examine SIF involvement during plant pathogen defense. SIF genes are rapidly induced by biotic or abiotic stresses, and SIF proteins localize to the plasma membrane. Simultaneous knockout of SIF1 and SIF2 led to improved plant salt tolerance, whereas SIF2 overexpression enhanced PAMP-triggered immunity and prompted basal plant defenses, significantly improving pathogen resistance. Furthermore, SIF2 overexpression plants exhibited up-regulated expression of the defenserelated genes WRKY53 and flg22-INDUCED RECEPTOR-LIKE KINASE1 as well as enhanced MPK3/MPK6 phosphorylation upon pathogen and elicitor treatments. The expression of the calcium signaling-related gene PHOSPHATE-INDUCED1 also was enhanced in the SIF2-overexpressing lines upon pathogen inoculation but repressed in the sif2 mutants. Bimolecular fluorescence complementation demonstrates that the BRI1-ASSOCIATED RECEPTOR KINASE1 protein is a coreceptor of the SIF2 kinase in the signal transduction pathway during pathogen invasion. These findings characterize a stress-responsive protein kinase family and illustrate how SIF2 modulates signal transduction for effective plant pathogenic defense.

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Plant Physiology

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