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Article|01 Jan 2021|OPEN
Chrysanthemum WRKY15-1 promotes resistance to Puccinia horiana Henn. via the salicylic acid signaling pathway
Mengmeng Bi1, Xueying Li1, Xin Yan1, Di Liu1, Ge Gao1, Pengfang Zhu1,2 & Hongyu Mao1,2,
1College of Forestry, Shenyang Agricultural University, Shenyang 110866, China
2Key Laboratory of Forest Tree Genetics, Breeding and Cultivation of Liaoning Province, Shenyang 110866, China

Horticulture Research 8,
Article number: 8 (2021)
doi: 10.1038/hortres.2021.8
Views: 383

Received: 08 Aug 2020
Revised: 15 Oct 2020
Accepted: 20 Oct 2020
Published online: 01 Jan 2021


Chrysanthemum white rust disease, which is caused by the fungus Puccinia horiana Henn., severely reduces the ornamental quality and yield chrysanthemum. WRKY transcription factors function in the disease-resistance response in a variety of plants; however, it is unclear whether members of this family improve resistance to white rust disease in chrysanthemum. In this study, using PCR, we isolated a WRKY15 homologous gene, CmWRKY15-1, from the resistant chrysanthemum cultivar C029. Real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) revealed that CmWRKY15-1 exhibited differential expression patterns between the immune cultivar C029 and the susceptible cultivar Jinba upon P. horiana infection. In addition, salicylic acid (SA) treatment strongly induced CmWRKY15-1 expression. Overexpression of CmWRKY15-1 in the chrysanthemum-susceptible cultivar Jinba increased tolerance to P. horiana infection. Conversely, silencing CmWRKY15-1 via RNA interference (RNAi) in C029 increased sensitivity to P. horiana infection. We also determined that P. horiana infection increased both the endogenous SA content and the expression of salicylic acid biosynthesis genes in CmWRKY15-1-overexpressing plants, whereas CmWRKY15-1 RNAi plants exhibited the opposite effects under the same conditions. Finally, the transcript levels of pathogenesis-related (PR) genes involved in the SA pathway were positively associated with CmWRKY15-1 expression levels. Our results demonstrated that CmWRKY15-1 plays an important role in the resistance of chrysanthemum to P. horiana by influencing SA signaling.