Retrotransposons (RTEs) are a principal component of most eukaryotic genomes, representing 50%-80% of some grass genomes. RTE sequences have been shown to be preferentially present in disease resistance gene clusters in plants. Arabidopsis thaliana has over 1,600 annotated RTE sequences and 56 of these appear to be expressed because of the exact expressed sequence tag (EST) matches and the presence of intact open reading frames. Of the 22 represented in the Affymetrix ATH1 array, AtCOPIA4 was found to be expressed at a higher level than all other RTEs across different developmental stages. Since AtCOPIA4 is located in the RPP5 gene cluster and is adjacent to RPP4 which confers resistance to the downy mildew oomycete Hyaloperonospora parasitica isolate EMWA1, we evaluated AtCOPIA4 mutants for resistance to this pathogen. T-DNA insertional and antisense knockout of AtCOPIA4 was found to reduce the resistance of wild type plants by 2-4 folds. Our results suggest that retrotransposon can be exapted to participate in plant defense response.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology