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Open Access Research article

Co-option of EDM2 to distinct regulatory modules in Arabidopsis thaliana development

Tokuji Tsuchiya and Thomas Eulgem*

Author Affiliations

Center for Plant Cell Biology, Institute for Integrative Genome Biology, Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, University of California at Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521, USA

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BMC Plant Biology 2010, 10:203  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-10-203

Published: 14 September 2010

Abstract

Background

Strong immunity of plants to pathogenic microorganisms is often mediated by highly specific mechanisms of non-self recognition that are dependent on disease resistance (R) genes. The Arabidopsis thaliana protein EDM2 is required for immunity mediated by the R gene RPP7. EDM2 is nuclear localized and contains typical features of transcriptional and epigenetic regulators. In addition, to its role in immunity, EDM2 plays also a role in promoting floral transition. This developmental function of EDM2, but not its role in RPP7-mediated disease resistance, seems to involve the protein kinase WNK8, which physically interacts with EDM2 in nuclei.

Results

Here we report that EDM2 affects additional developmental processes which include the formation of leaf pavement cells and leaf expansion as well as the development of morphological features related to vegetative phase change. EDM2 has a promoting effect of each of these processes. While WNK8 seems not to exhibit any vegetative phase change-related function, it has a promoting effect on the development of leaf pavement cells and leaf expansion. Microarray data further support regulatory interactions between WNK8 and EDM2. The fact that the effects of EDM2 and WNK8 on leaf pavement cell formation and leaf expansion are co-directional, while WNK8 counteracts the promoting effect of EDM2 on floral transition, is surprising and suggests that WNK8 can modulate the activity of EDM2.

Conclusion

We propose that EDM2 has been co-opted to distinct regulatory modules controlling a set of different processes in plant immunity and development. WNK8 appears to modulate some functions of EDM2.