Arabidopsis WRKY33 transcription factor is required for resistance to necrotrophic fungal pathogens

Zuyu Zheng, Synan Abu Qamar, Zhixiang Chen, Tesfaye Mengiste

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

707 Citations (Scopus)


Plant WRKY transcription factors are key regulatory components of plant responses to microbial infection. In addition to regulating the expression of defense-related genes, WRKY transcription factors have also been shown to regulate cross-talk between jasmonate- and salicylate-regulated disease response pathways. The two pathways mediate resistance against different types of microbial pathogens, and there are numerous reports of antagonistic interactions between them. Here we show that mutations of the Arabidopsis WRKY33 gene encoding a WRKY transcription factor cause enhanced susceptibility to the necrotrophic fungal pathogens Botrytis cinerea and Alternaria brassicicola concomitant with reduced expression of the jasmonate-regulated plant defensin PDF1.2 gene. Ectopic over-expression of WRKY33, on the other hand, increases resistance to the two necrotrophic fungal pathogens. The wrky33 mutants do not show altered responses to a virulent strain of the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae, although the ectopic expression of WRKY33 results in enhanced susceptibility to this pathogen. The susceptibility of WRKY33-over-expressing plants to P. syringae is associated with reduced expression of the salicylate-regulated PR-1 gene. The WRKY33 transcript is induced in response to pathogen infection, or treatment with salicylate or the paraquat herbicide that generates activated oxygen species in exposed cells. WRKY33 is localized to the nucleus of plant cells and recognizes DNA molecules containing the TTGACC W-box sequence. Together, these results indicate that pathogen-induced WRKY33 is an important transcription factor that regulates the antagonistic relationship between defense pathways mediating responses to P. syringae and necrotrophic pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)592-605
Number of pages14
JournalPlant Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Alternaria brassicicola
  • Botrytis cinerea
  • Disease resistance
  • Necrotroph
  • Pseudomonas syringae
  • WRKY33 transcription factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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