The Arabidopsis PAD4 gene was previously shown to be required for synthesis of camalexin in response to infection by the virulent bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv maculicola ES4326 but not in response to challenge by the non-host fungal pathogen Cochliobolus carbonum. In this study, we show that pad4 mutants exhibit defects in defense responses, including camalexin synthesis and pathogenesis-related PR-1 gene expression, when infected by P.s. maculicola ES4326. No such defects were observed in response to infection by an isogenic avirulent strain carrying the avirulence gene avrRpt2. In P.s. maculicola ES4326-infected pad4 plants, synthesis of salicylic acid (SA) was found to be reduced and delayed when compared with SA synthesis in wild-type plants. Moreover, treatment of pad4 plants with SA partially reversed the camalexin deficiency and PR-1 gene expression phenotypes of P. s. maculicola ES4326-infected pad4 plants. These findings support the hypothesis that PAD4 acts upstream from SA accumulation in regulating defense response expression in plants infected with P.s. maculicola ES4326. A working model of the role of PAD4 in governing expression of defense responses is presented.
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