Ethylene-responsive element-binding proteins (EREBPs) are plant-specific transcription factors, many of which have been linked to plant defense responses. Conserved EREBP domains bind to the GCC box, a promoter element found in pathogenesis-related (PR) genes. We previously identified an EREBP gene from soybean (GmEREBP1) whose transcript abundance decreased in soybean cyst-nematode-infected roots of a susceptible cultivar, whereas it increased in abundance in infected roots of a resistant cultivar. Here, we report further characterization of this gene. Transient expression analyses showed that GmEREBP1 is localized to the plant nucleus and functions as a transcriptional activator in soybean leaves. Transgenic soybean plants expressing GmEREBP1 activated the expression of the ethylene (ET)-responsive gene PR2 and the ET- and jasmonic acid (JA)-responsive gene PR3, and the salicylic acid (SA)-responsive gene PR1 but not the SA-responsive PR5. Similarly, transgenic Arabidopsis plants expressing GmEREBP1 showed elevated mRNA abundance of the ET-regulated gene PR3 and the ET- and JA-regulated defense-related gene PDF1.2 but not the ET-regulated GST2, and the SA-regulated gene PR1 but not the SA-regulated PR2 and PR5. Transgenic soybean and Arabidopsis plants inoculated with cyst nematodes did not display a significantly altered susceptibility to nematode infection. These results collectively show that GmEREBP1 functions as a transacting inducer of defense gene expression in both soybean and Arabidopsis and mediates the expression of both ET- and JA- and SA-regulated defense-related genes in these plant species.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/thomas-baum/52/