Hsu FC, Chou MY, Chou SJ, Li YR, Peng HP, Shih MC
Transcriptional control plays an important role in regulating submergence responses in plants. Although numerous genes are highly induced during hypoxia, their individual roles in hypoxic responses are still poorly understood. Here, we found that expression of genes that encode members of the WRKY transcription factor family was rapidly and strongly induced upon submergence in Arabidopsis thaliana, and this induction correlated with induction of a large portion of innate immunity marker genes. Furthermore, prior submergence treatment conferred higher resistance to the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae in Arabidopsis. Among the WRKY genes tested, WRKY22 had the highest level of induction during the early stages of submergence. Compared with the wild type, WRKY22 T-DNA insertion mutants wrky22-1 and wrky22-2 had lower disease resistance and lower induction of innate immunity markers, such as FLG22-INDUCED RECEPTOR-LIKE KINASE1 (FRK1) and WRKY53, after submergence. Furthermore, transcriptomic analyses of wrky22-2 and chromatin immunoprecipitation identified several potential targets of WRKY22, which included genes encoding a TIR domain-containing protein, a plant peptide hormone, and many OLIGO PEPTIDE TRANSPORTER genes, all of which may lead to induction of innate immunity. In conclusion, we propose that submergence triggers innate immunity in Arabidopsis via WRKY22, a response that may protect against a higher probability of pathogen infection either during or after flooding.