Pathogen exploitation of an abscisic acid- and jasmonate-inducible MAPK phosphatase and its interception by Arabidopsis immunity [Plant Biology]
Phytopathogens promote virulence by, for example, exploiting signaling pathways mediated by phytohormones such as abscisic acid (ABA) and jasmonate (JA). Some plants can counteract pathogen virulence by invoking a potent form of immunity called effector-triggered immunity (ETI). Here, we report that ABA and JA mediate inactivation of the immune-associated MAP kinases (MAPKs), MPK3 and MPK6, in Arabidopsis thaliana. ABA induced expression of genes encoding the protein phosphatases 2C (PP2Cs), HAI1, HAI2, and HAI3 through ABF/AREB transcription factors. These three HAI PP2Cs interacted with MPK3 and MPK6 and were required for ABA-mediated MPK3/MPK6 inactivation and immune suppression. The bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato (Pto) DC3000 activates ABA signaling and produces a JA-mimicking phytotoxin, coronatine (COR), that promotes virulence. We found that Pto DC3000 induces HAI1 through COR-mediated activation of MYC2, a master transcription factor in JA signaling. HAI1 dephosphorylated MPK3 and MPK6 in vitro and was necessary for COR-mediated suppression of MPK3/MPK6 activation and immunity. Intriguingly, upon ETI activation, A. thaliana plants overcame the HAI1-dependent virulence of COR by blocking JA signaling. Finally, we showed conservation of induction of HAI PP2Cs by ABA and JA in other Brassicaceae species. Taken together, these results suggest that ABA and JA signaling pathways, which are hijacked by the bacterial pathogen, converge on the HAI PP2Cs that suppress activation of the immune-associated MAPKs. Also, our data unveil interception of JA-signaling activation as a host counterstrategy against the bacterial suppression of MAPKs during ETI.
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