Role of Transcription Factor HAT1 in Modulating Arabidopsis thaliana Response to Cucumber mosaic virus

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Arabidopsis thaliana homeodomain-leucine zipper protein 1 (HAT1) belongs to the homeodomain-leucine zipper (HD-Zip) family class II that plays important roles in plant growth and development as a transcription factor. To elucidate further the role of HD-Zip II transcription factors in plant defense, the A. thaliana hat1, hat1hat3 and hat1hat2hat3 mutants and HAT1 overexpression plants (HAT1OX) were challenged with Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV). HAT1OX displayed more susceptibility, while loss-of-function mutants of HAT1 exhibited less susceptibility to CMV infection. HAT1 and its close homologs HAT2 and HAT3 function redundantly, as the triple mutant hat1hat2hat3 displayed increased virus resistance compared with the hat1 and hat1hat3 mutants. Furthermore, the induction of the antioxidant system (the activities and expression of enzymatic antioxidants) and the expression of defense-associated genes were down-regulated in HAT1OX but up-regulated in hat1hat2hat3 when compared with Col-0 after CMV infection. Further evidence showed that the involvement of HAT1 in the anti-CMV defense response might be dependent on salicylic acid (SA) but not jasmonic acid (JA). The SA level or expression of SA synthesis-related genes was decreased in HAT1OX but increased in hat1hat2hat3 compared with Col-0 after CMV infection, but there were little difference in JA level or JA synthesis-related gene expression among HAT1OX or defective plants. In addition, HAT1 expression is dependent on SA accumulation. Taken together, our study indicated that HAT1 negatively regulates plant defense responses to CMV.

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