Qian Gong, Zhaoen Yang, Xiaoqian Wang, Hamama Islam Butt, Eryong Chen, Shoupu He, Chaojun Zhang, Xueyan Zhang and Fuguang Li
BMC Plant Biology; 3 March 2017; DOI: 10.1186/s12870-017-1007-5
Verticillium dahliae is a phytopathogenic fungal pathogen that causes vascular wilt diseases responsible for considerable decreases in cotton yields. The complex mechanism underlying cotton resistance to Verticillium wilt remains uncharacterized. Identifying an endogenous resistance gene may be useful for controlling this disease.
We cloned the ribosomal protein L18 (GaRPL18) gene, which mediates resistance to Verticillium wilt, from a wilt-resistant cotton species (Gossypium arboreum). We then characterized the function of this gene in cotton and Arabidopsis thaliana plants. GaRPL18 encodes a 60S ribosomal protein subunit important for intracellular protein biosynthesis. However, previous studies revealed that some ribosomal proteins are also inhibitory toward oncogenesis and congenital diseases in humans and play a role in plant disease defense. Here, we observed that V. dahliae infections induce GaRPL18 expression. Furthermore, we determined that the GaRPL18 expression pattern is consistent with the disease resistance level of different cotton varieties. GaRPL18 expression is upregulated by salicylic acid (SA) treatments, suggesting the involvement of GaRPL18 in the SA signal transduction pathway. Virus-induced gene silencing technology was used to determine whether the GaRPL18 expression level influences cotton disease resistance. Wilt-resistant cotton species in which GaRPL18 was silenced became more susceptible to V. dahliae than the control plants because of a significant decrease in the abundance of immune-related molecules. We also transformed A. thaliana ecotype Columbia (Col-0) plants with GaRPL18 according to the floral dip method. The plants overexpressing GaRPL18 were more resistant to V. dahliae infections than the wild-type Col-0 plants. The enhanced resistance of transgenic A. thaliana plants to V. dahliae is likely mediated by the SA pathway.
Our findings provide new insights into the role of GaRPL18, indicating that it plays a crucial role in resistance to cotton “cancer”, also known as Verticillium wilt, mainly regulated by an SA-related signaling pathway mechanism.