J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2022, Vol. 64 ›› Issue (8): 1531-1542.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.13309

• Cell and Developmental Biology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Overlapping functions of YDA and MAPKKK3/MAPKKK5 upstream of MPK3/MPK6 in plant immunity and growth/development

Yidong Liu1, Emma Leary2, Obai Saffaf1, R. Frank Baker3 and Shuqun Zhang1*   

  1. 1 Division of Biochemistry, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA
    2 Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA
    3 Advanced Light Microscopy Core, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA

    * Correspondence: Shuqun Zhang (Zhangsh@missouri.edu)
  • Received:2022-05-21 Accepted:2022-05-28 Online:2022-06-02 Published:2022-08-01


Arabidopsis MITOGEN-ACTIVATED PROTEIN KINASE3 (MAPK3 or MPK3) and MPK6 play important signaling roles in plant immunity and growth/development. MAPK KINASE4 (MKK4) and MKK5 function redundantly upstream of MPK3 and MPK6 in these processes. YODA (YDA), also known as MAPK KINASE KINASE4 (MAPKKK4), is upstream of MKK4/MKK5 and forms a complete MAPK cascade (YDA–MKK4/MKK5–MPK3/MPK6) in regulating plant growth and development. In plant immunity, MAPKKK3 and MAPKKK5 function redundantly upstream of the same MKK4/MKK5–MPK3/MPK6 module. However, the residual activation of MPK3/MPK6 in the mapkkk3 mapkkk5 double mutant in response to flg22 pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) treatment suggests the presence of additional MAPKKK(s) in this MAPK cascade in signaling plant immunity. To investigate whether YDA is also involved in plant immunity, we attempted to generate mapkkk3 mapkkk5 yda triple mutants. However, it was not possible to recover one of the double mutant combinations (mapkkk5 yda) or the triple mutant (mapkkk3 mapkkk5 yda) due to a failure of embryogenesis. Using the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) – CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9) approach, we generated weak, N-terminal deletion alleles of YDA, yda-del, in a mapkkk3 mapkkk5 background. PAMP-triggered MPK3/MPK6 activation was further reduced in the mapkkk3 mapkkk5 yda-del mutant, and the triple mutant was more susceptible to pathogen infection, suggesting YDA also plays an important role in plant immune signaling. In addition, MAPKKK5 and, to a lesser extent, MAPKKK3 were found to contribute to gamete function and embryogenesis, together with YDA. While the double homozygous mapkkk3 yda mutant showed the same growth and development defects as the yda single mutant, mapkkk5 yda double mutant and mapkkk3 mapkkk5 yda triple mutants were embryo lethal, similar to the mpk3 mpk6 double mutants. These results demonstrate that YDA, MAPKKK3, and MAPKKK5 have overlapping functions upstream of the MKK4/MKK5–MPK3/MPK6 module in both plant immunity and growth/development.

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