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J Integr Plant Biol, 2016, 58 (5): 503-513, Research Article
Suppression of the homeobox gene HDTF1 enhances resistance to Verticillium dahliae and Botrytis cinerea in cotton
Wei Gao1,2, Lu Long1,2, Li Xu1, Keith Lindsey3, Xianlong Zhang1 and Longfu Zhu1*
1National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, Hubei, China
2State Key Laboratory of Cotton Biology, Henan Key Laboratory of Plant Stress Biology, School of Life Sciences, Henan University, Kaifeng, China
3Integrative Cell Biology Laboratory, School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, University of Durham, Durham, UK
*Correspondence: E-mail: lfzhu@mail.hzau.edu.cn
doi: 10.1111/jipb.12432
Abstract

Development of pathogen-resistant crops, such as fungus-resistant cotton, has significantly reduced chemical application and improved crop yield and quality. However, the mechanism of resistance to cotton pathogens such as Verticillium dahliae is still poorly understood. In this study, we characterized a cotton gene (HDTF1) that was isolated following transcriptome profiling during the resistance response of cotton to V. dahliae. HDTF1 putatively encodes a homeodomain transcription factor, and its expression was found to be down-regulated in cotton upon inoculation with V. dahliae and Botrytis cinerea. To characterise the involvement of HDTF1 in the response to these pathogens, we used virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) to generate HDTF1-silenced cotton. VIGS reduction in HDTF1 expression significantly enhanced cotton plant resistance to both pathogens. HDTF1 silencing resulted in activation of jasmonic acid (JA)-mediated signaling and JA accumulation. However, the silenced plants were not altered in the accumulation of salicylic acid (SA) or the expression of marker genes associated with SA signaling. These results suggest that HDTF1 is a negative regulator of the JA pathway, and resistance to V. dahliae and B. cinerea can be engineered by activation of JA signaling.

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Received: 25 April 2015      Accepted:    Online on:
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