Plants are constantly exposed to pathogens and environmental stresses. To minimize damage caused by these potentially harmful factors, plants respond by massive transcriptional reprogramming of various stress-related genes via major transcription factor families. One of the transcription factor families, WRKY, plays an important role in diverse stress response of plants and is often useful to generate genetically engineered crop plants. In this study, we carried out functional characterization of CaWRKYa encoding group I WRKY member, which is induced during hypersensitive response (HR) in hot pepper (Capsicum annuum) upon Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) infection. CaWRKYa was involved in L-mediated resistance via transcriptional reprogramming of pathogenesis-related (PR) gene expression and affected HR upon TMV-P 0 infection. CaWRKYa acts as a positive regulator of this defense system and could bind to the W-box of diverse PR genes promoters. Furthermore, we found Capsicum annuum mitogen-activated protein kinase 1 (CaMK1) and 2 (CaMK2) interacted with CaWRKYa and phosphorylated the SP clusters but not the MAPK docking (D)-domain of CaWRKYa. Thus, these results demonstrated that CaWRKYa was regulated by CaMK1 and CaMK2 at the posttranslational level in hot pepper.
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