Biotech Updates

GhMAP3K40 Regulates Plant Defense Genes but Negatively Affects Plant Growth and Development

September 2, 2015

Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades mediate various responses in plants with one of its top components being MAP3K. However, little is known about the role of MAP3Ks, especially in cotton. Researchers from the Shandong Agricultural University in China isolated an MAPK gene from cotton, GhMAP3K40, expressed it in Nicotiana benthaminana and tested its function.

Plants overexpressing GhMAP3K40 had enhanced tolerance to drought and salt stress at the germination stage. However, at the seedling stage, the transgenics suffered severe damage after various stresses. Defense-related genes were activated in transgenic plants, suggesting that GhMAP3K40 regulates defense responses. However, the transgenics were less able to prevent pathogen invasion due to defects in the cell structure of the leaves. The root systems of the control plants also were stronger compared with the transgenic plants.

These results suggest that GhMAP3K40 positively regulate defense response, but causes reduced tolerance to biotic and abiotic stress due to its negative role in growth and development by down-regulating the lignin biosynthesis.

For more information on the study, read the full article on Plant Science.