The Arabidopsis NADPH oxidases RbohD and RbohF display differential expression patterns and contributions during plant immunity

Jorge Morales, Yasuhiro Kadota, Cyril Zipfel, Antonio Molina, Miguel-Angel Torres

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Plant NADPH oxidases, also known as respiratory burst oxidase homologues (RBOHs), produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) that perform a wide range of functions. RbohD and RbohF, two of the 10 Rboh genes present in Arabidopsis, are pleiotropic and mediate diverse physiological processes including the response to pathogens. We hypothesized that the spatio-temporal control of RbohD and RbohF gene expression might be critical in determining their multiplicity of functions. Transgenic Arabidopsis plants with RbohD and RbohF promoter fusions to β-glucuronidase and Luciferase reporter genes were generated. Analysis of these plants revealed a differential expression pattern for RbohD and RbohF throughout plant development and during immune responses. RbohD and RbohF gene expression was differentially modulated by pathogen-associated molecular patterns. Histochemical stains and in vivo expression analysis showed a correlation between the level of RbohD and RbohF promoter activity, H2O2 accumulation and the amount of cell death in response to the pathogenic bacterium Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 and the necrotrophic fungus Plectosphaerella cucumerina. A promoter-swap strategy revealed that the promoter region of RbohD was required to drive production of ROS by this gene in response to pathogens. Moreover, RbohD promoter was activated during Arabidopsis interaction with a non-virulent P. cucumerina isolate, and susceptibility tests with the double mutant rbohD rbohF uncovered a new function for these oxidases in basal resistance. Altogether, our results suggest that differential spatio-temporal expression of the Rboh genes contributes to fine-tune RBOH/NADPH oxidase-dependent ROS production and signaling in Arabidopsis immunity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1663-1676
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number6
Early online date21 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • Arabidopsis
  • NADPH oxidase
  • pathogen
  • RbohD
  • RbohF
  • reactive oxygen species

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