Ethylene production in Botrytis cinerea- and oligogalacturonide-induced immunity requires calcium-dependent protein kinases

  Plant immunity against pathogens is achieved through rapid activation of defense responses that occur upon sensing of microbe- or damage-associated molecular patterns, respectively referred to as MAMPs and DAMPs. Oligogalacturonides (OGs), linear fragments derived from homogalacturonan hydrolysis by pathogen-secreted cell wall-degrading enzymes, and flg22, a 22-amino acid peptide derived from the bacterial flagellin, represent prototypical DAMPs and MAMPs, respectively. Both types of molecules induce protection against infections.

      In plants, like in animals, calcium is a second messenger that mediates responses to biotic stresses by activating calcium-binding proteins. Here we show that simultaneous loss of calcium-dependent protein kinases CPK5, CPK6 and CPK11 affects Arabidopsis thaliana basal as well as elicitor- induced resistance to the necrotroph Botrytis cinerea, by affecting pathogen-induced ethylene production and accumulation of the ethylene biosynthetic enzymes 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) synthase 2 (ACS2) and 6 (ACS6). Moreover, ethylene signaling contributes to OG-triggered immunity activation, and lack of CPK5, CPK6 and CPK11 affects the duration of OG- and flg22-induced gene expression, indicating that these kinases are shared elements of both DAMP and MAMP signaling pathways.