Possible role of WRKY transcription factors in regulating immunity in Oryza sativa ssp. indica

Abstract
Plants have developed a robust transcription machinery to combat potential pathogenic organisms. One of the hallmarks of early immune responses is the activation of the WRKY transcription factors post infection. Specific WRKYs proteins from Arabidopsis are known substrates of MAPK pathway to mediate the flg22 elicited early immunity. In the current study, using the Golden Gate cloning strategy, we aim to clone the entire WRKY transcription factor family from Oryza sativa ssp. indica consisting of more than 100 members and study their MAPK interaction and subsequent role in PTI. Using a reporter LUC assay in protoplasts we investigated the early defense responses in a few interesting OsWRKY candidates. Interestingly, we observed stringent regulation of WRKY expression in cells and their transcriptional expression only under specific stress responses. The phenomenon of gene expression regulation by intron retention (IR) was prevalently observed in rice WRKY transcripts. We could show the role of WRKY8, 24, and 77 in early defense responses. It was observed that WRKY24 enhanced the expression of early defense response marker genes like NHL10 while WRKY8 and WRKY77 supressed their expression. This study highlights the complicated mechanism by which OsWRKYs expression is possibly regulated and the distinctive roles of some individual members in plant immunity. At the same time this study serves as a cautionary warning for plant researchers to be mindful of the intron retention mechanism while cloning OsWRKYs.

Citation
Sheikh, A. H., Fraz Hussain, R. M., Tabassum, N., Badmi, R., Marillonnet, S., Scheel, D., … Sinha, A. (2021). Possible role of WRKY transcription factors in regulating immunity in Oryza sativa ssp. indica. Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology, 114, 101623. doi:10.1016/j.pmpp.2021.101623

Acknowledgements
AHS thanks NIPGR core grant and DAAD Fellowship (A/11/75070) for funding.

Publisher
Elsevier BV

Journal
Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology

DOI
10.1016/j.pmpp.2021.101623

Additional Links
https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0885576521000242

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