PloS one

Role of intron-mediated enhancement on accumulation of an Arabidopsis NB-LRR class R-protein that confers resistance to Cucumber mosaic virus.

PMID 24915153


The accumulation of RCY1 protein, which is encoded by RESISTANCE TO CMV(Y) (RCY1), a CC-NB-LRR class R-gene, is tightly correlated with the strength of the resistance to a yellow strain of Cucumber mosaic virus [CMV(Y)] in Arabidopsis thaliana. In order to enhance resistance to CMV by overexpression of RCY1, A. thaliana was transformed with intron-less RCY1 cDNA construct under the control of strong CaMV35S promoter. Remarkably, a relative amount of RCY1 protein accumulation in the transformants was much lower than that in plants expressing genomic RCY1 under the control of its native promoter. To identify a regulatory element of RCY1 that could cause such differential levels of RCY1 accumulation, a series of RCY1 cDNA and genomic RCY1 constructs were transiently expressed in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves by the Agrobacterium-mediated infiltration method. Comparative analysis of the level of RCY1 accumulation in the leaf tissues transiently expressing each construct indicated that the intron located in the RCY1-coding region of genomic RCY1, but not the native RCY1 genomic promoter or the 5'-and 3'-untranslated regions of RCY1, was indispensable for high level RCY1 accumulation. The increased levels of RCY1 accelerated plant disease defense reactions. Interestingly, such intron-mediated enhancement of RCY1 accumulation depended neither on the abundance of the RCY1 transcript nor on the RCY1 specific-intron sequence. Taken together, intron-mediated RCY1 expression seems to play a key role in the expression of complete resistance to CMV(Y) by maintaining RCY1 accumulation at high levels.