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Title: Function of hybrid histidine kinases in Arabidopsis flagellin-mediated defence responses
Author: Stewart, Yvonne Marion
ISNI:       0000 0004 2732 1349
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2013
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In plants, the first line of microbial recognition relies on the perception of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) allowing plants to detect microorganisms and respond with a set of basal defence responses. The best studied PAMP is flagellin, the main protein component of bacterial flagella. The sensor histidine kinase AHK5 has been shown to play a novel role in mediating flagellin-induced stomatal closure. AHK5 belongs to a family of 9 Arabidopsis hybrid-histidine kinases (HKs). To further investigate the role of such HKs in flagellin-induced signal transduction, physiological responses to the flagellin derived peptide flg22 were examined in available hybrid HK mutant lines. Seedlings of the ethylene insensitive HK ETR1 mutant (etr1-1) showed dramatically reduced flg22 sensitivity as assayed by flg22-mediated seedling growth inhibition. A novel role for the hormone ethylene in flg22-mediated growth inhibition was thus identified. Conversely enhanced sensitivity to low concentrations of flg22 was observed in the AHK2 cytokinin receptor mutant (ahk2-2). However, the absence of flg22-associated growth phenotype in other cytokinin receptor mutants would suggest the role of AHK2 in flg22-mediated seedling growth inhibition may be independent of its role in cytokinin perception. Despite a wild-type sensitivity in aerial plant tissues, distinct flg22-mediated root growth arrest phenotypes were observed in plants defective in the HKs ETR1 and AHK5. Dissection of the mechanisms underlying flg22-mediated root growth inhibition led to the identification of nitric oxide and the ethylene precursor ACC as key secondary messengers. Further characterisation of etr1 mutants showed that, in addition to seedling growth inhibition, ethylene perception is also required for flg22-mediated callose deposition however surprisingly, does not appear to be a requirement for flg22-mediated bacterial immunity. Despite the known requirement for AHK5 in flg22-mediated stomatal closure, flg22-mediated post-invasive bacterial defences were found to be intact in ahk5-1 mutant plants. In summary this study has shown that ethylene perception via the ethylene receptor HK family plays an integral part in flg22-mediated signalling. In addition, organ/tissue specific functions for three of the nine hybrid kinases, AHK2, AHK5 and ETR1 in flg22-mediated signal transduction have been identified.
Supervisor: Feys, Bart ; Desikan, Radhika Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral