The Capsicum annuum class IV chitinase ChitIV interacts with receptor-like cytoplasmic protein kinase PIK1 to accelerate PIK1-triggered cell death and defence responses

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The pepper receptor-like cytoplasmic protein kinase, CaPIK1, which mediates signalling of plant cell death and defence responses was previously identified. Here, the identification of a class IV chitinase, CaChitIV, from pepper plants (Capsicum annuum), which interacts with CaPIK1 and promotes CaPIK1-triggered cell death and defence responses, is reported. CaChitIV contains a signal peptide, chitin-binding domain, and glycol hydrolase domain. CaChitIV expression was up-regulated by Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria (Xcv) infection. Notably, avirulent Xcv infection rapidly induced CaChitIV expression in pepper leaves. Bimolecular fluorescence complementation and co-immunoprecipitation revealed that CaPIK1 interacts with CaChitIV in planta, and that the CaPIK1–CaChitIV complex is localized mainly in the cytoplasm and plasma membrane. CaChitIV is also localized in the endoplasmic reticulum. Transient co-expression of CaChitIV with CaPIK1 enhanced CaPIK1-triggered cell death response and reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitric oxide (NO) bursts. Co-silencing of both CaChitIV and CaPIK1 in pepper plants conferred enhanced susceptibility to Xcv infection, which was accompanied by a reduced induction of cell death response, ROS and NO bursts, and defence response genes. Ectopic expression of CaPIK1 in Arabidopsis enhanced basal resistance to Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis infection. Together, the results suggest that CaChitIV positively regulates CaPIK1-triggered cell death and defence responses through its interaction with CaPIK1.

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