In this study, we aimed to identify common genetic components during stress response responsible for crosstalk among stresses, and to determine the role of differentially expressed genes in Arabidopsis-Botrytis cinerea interaction. Of 1,554 B. cinerea up-regulated genes, 24%, 1.4% and 14% were induced by biotic, abiotic and hormonal treatments, respectively. About 18%, 2.5% and 22% of B. cinerea down-regulated genes were also repressed by the same stress groups. Our transcriptomic analysis indicates that plant responses to all tested stresses can be mediated by commonly regulated genes; and protein-protein interaction network confirms the cross-interaction between proteins regulated by these genes. Upon challenges to individual or multiple stress(es), accumulation of signaling molecules (e.g. hormones) plays a major role in the activation of downstream defense responses. In silico gene analyses enabled us to assess the involvement of RAP2.4 (related to AP2.4) in plant immunity. Arabidopsis RAP2.4 was repressed by B. cinerea, and its mutants enhanced resistance to the same pathogen. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report demonstrating the role of RAP2.4 in plant defense against B. cinerea. This research can provide a basis for breeding programs to increase tolerance and improve yield performance in crops.
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