The Arabidopsis tandem zinc finger 9 protein binds RNA and mediates pathogen-associated molecular pattern-triggered immune responses.

Abstract

Recognition of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) induces multiple defense mechanisms to limit pathogen growth. Here, we show that the Arabidopsis thaliana tandem zinc finger protein 9 (TZF9) is phosphorylated by PAMP-responsive mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) and is required to trigger a full PAMP-triggered immune response. Analysis of a tzf9 mutant revealed attenuation in specific PAMP-triggered reactions such as reactive oxygen species accumulation, MAPK activation and, partially, the expression of several PAMP-responsive genes. In accordance with these weaker PAMP-triggered responses, tzf9 mutant plants exhibit enhanced susceptibility to virulent Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000. Visualization of TZF9 localization by fusion to green fluorescent protein revealed cytoplasmic foci that co-localize with marker proteins of processing bodies (P-bodies). This localization pattern is affected by inhibitor treatments that limit mRNA availability (such as cycloheximide or actinomycin D) or block nuclear export (leptomycin B). Coupled with its ability to bind the ribohomopolymers poly(rU) and poly(rG), these results suggest involvement of TZF9 in post-transcriptional regulation, such as mRNA processing or storage pathways, to regulate plant innate immunity.

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