Brassinosteroid-related transcription factor BIL1/BZR1 increases plant resistance to insect feeding

Tomoko Miyaji, Ayumi Yamagami, Nao Kume, Masaaki Sakuta, Hiroyuki Osada, Tadao Asami, Yutaka Arimoto, Takeshi Nakano
Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry 2014, 78 (6): 960-8
The plant steroid hormones brassinosteroids (BRs) play important roles in plant growth and responses to stresses. The up-regulation of pathogen resistance by BR signaling has been analyzed, but the relationship between BR and insect herbivores remains largely unclear. BIL1/BZR1 is a BR master transcription factor known to be involved in the regulation of plant development through work conducted on a gain of function mutation. Here, we analyzed the function of BIL1/BZR1 in response to insect feeding and demonstrated that resistance against thrip feeding was increased in the bil1-1D/bzr1-1D mutant compared to wild-type. We generated Lotus japonicus transgenic plants that over-express the Arabidopsis bil1/bzr1 mutant, Lj-bil1/bzr1-OX. The Lj-bil1/bzr1-OX plants showed increased resistance to thrip feeding. The expression levels of the jasmoninc acid (JA)-inducible VSP genes were increased in both Arabidopsis bil1-1D/bzr1-1D mutants and L. japonicus Lj-bil1/bzr1-OX plants. The resistance to thrip feeding caused by the BIL1/BZR1 gene may involve JA signaling.

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