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  1. Abstract

    Basic helix–loop–helix (bHLH) transcription factors constitute a superfamily in eukaryotes, but their roles in plant immunity remain largely uncharacterized. We found that the transcript abundance in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) leaves of one bHLH transcription factor-encoding gene, negative regulator of resistance to DC3000 1 (Nrd1), increased significantly after treatment with the immunity-inducing flgII-28 peptide. Plants carrying a loss-of-function mutation in Nrd1 (Δnrd1) showed enhanced resistance to Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato (Pst) DC3000 although early pattern-triggered immunity responses, such as generation of reactive oxygen species and activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases after treatment with flagellin-derived flg22 and flgII-28 peptides, were unaltered compared to wild-type plants. RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis identified a gene, Arabinogalactan protein 1 (Agp1), whose expression is strongly suppressed in an Nrd1-dependent manner. Agp1 encodes an arabinogalactan protein, and overexpression of the Agp1 gene in Nicotiana benthamiana led to ∼10-fold less Pst growth compared to the control. These results suggest that the Nrd1 protein promotes tomato susceptibility to Pst by suppressing the defense gene Agp1. RNA-seq also revealed that the loss of Nrd1 function has no effect on the transcript abundance of immunity-associated genes, including AvrPtoB tomato-interacting 9 (Bti9), Cold-shock protein receptor (Core), Flagellin sensing 2 (Fls2), Flagellin sensing (Fls3), and Wall-associated kinase 1 (Wak1) upon Pst inoculation, suggesting that the enhanced immunity observed in the Δnrd1 mutants is due to the activation of key PRR signaling components as well as the loss of Nrd1-regulated suppression of Agp1.

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