Two VOZ transcription factors link an E3 ligase and an NLR immune receptor to modulate immunity in rice.Mol Plant. 2021 02 01; 14(2):253-266.MP
Nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat (NLR) proteins play critical roles in plant immunity. However, how NLRs are regulated and activate defense signaling is not fully understood. The rice (Oryza sativa) NLR receptor Piz-t confers broad-spectrum resistance to the fungal pathogen Magnaporthe oryzae and the RING-type E3 ligase AVRPIZ-T INTERACTING PROTEIN 10 (APIP10) negatively regulates Piz-t accumulation. In this study, we found that APIP10 interacts with two rice transcription factors, VASCULAR PLANT ONE-ZINC FINGER 1 (OsVOZ1) and OsVOZ2, and promotes their degradation through the 26S proteasome pathway. OsVOZ1 displays transcriptional repression activity while OsVOZ2 confers transcriptional activation activity in planta. The osvoz1 and osvoz2 single mutants display modest but opposite M. oryzae resistance in the non-Piz-t background. However, the osvoz1 osvoz2 double mutant exhibits strong dwarfism and cell death, and silencing of both genes via RNA interference also leads to dwarfism, mild cell death, and enhanced resistance to M. oryzae in the non-Piz-t background. Both OsVOZ1 and OsVOZ2 interact with Piz-t. Double silencing of OsVOZ1 and OsVOZ2 in the Piz-t background decreases Piz-t protein accumulation and transcription, reactive oxygen species-dependent cell death, and resistance to M. oryzae containing AvrPiz-t. Taken together, these results indicate that OsVOZ1 and OsVOZ2 negatively regulate basal defense but contribute positively to Piz-t-mediated immunity.