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Article|01 Oct 2021|OPEN
AaWRKY17, a positive regulator of artemisinin biosynthesis, is involved in resistance to Pseudomonas syringae in Artemisia annua
Tiantian Chen1, Yongpeng Li1, Lihui Xie1, Xiaolong Hao1, Hang Liu1, Wei Qin1, Chen Wang1, Xin Yan1, Kuanyu Wu-Zhang1, Xinghao Yao1, Bowen Peng1, Yaojie Zhang1, Xueqing Fu1, Ling Li1 & Kexuan Tang1,
1 Joint International Research Laboratory of Metabolic and Developmental Sciences, Frontiers Science Center for Transformative Molecules, Plant Biotechnology Research Center, Fudan-SJTU-Nottingham Plant Biotechnology R&D Center, School of Agriculture and Biology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China

Horticulture Research 8,
Article number: 217 (2021)
doi: 10.1038/hortres.2021.217
Views: 57

Received: 13 Apr 2021
Revised: 08 Jun 2021
Accepted: 13 Jun 2021
Published online: 01 Oct 2021


Artemisia annua, a traditional Chinese medicinal plant, remains the only plant source for artemisinin production, yet few genes have been identified to be involved in both the response to biotic stresses, such as pathogens, and artemisinin biosynthesis. Here, we isolated and identified the WRKY transcription factor (TF) AaWRKY17, which could significantly increase the artemisinin content and resistance to Pseudomonas syringae in A. annua. Yeast one-hybrid (Y1H), dual-luciferase (dual-LUC), and electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) results showed that AaWRKY17 directly bound to the W-box motifs in the promoter region of the artemisinin biosynthetic pathway gene amorpha-4,11-diene synthase (ADS) and promoted its expression. Real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) analysis revealed that the transcript levels of two defense marker genes, Pathogenesis-Related 5 (PR5) and NDR1/HIN1-LIKE 10 (NHL10), were greatly increased in AaWRKY17-overexpressing transgenic A. annua plants. Additionally, overexpression of AaWRKY17 in A. annua resulted in decreased susceptibility to P. syringae. These results indicated that AaWRKY17 acted as a positive regulator in response to P. syringae infection. Together, our findings demonstrated that the novel WRKY transcription factor AaWRKY17 could potentially be used in transgenic breeding to improve the content of artemisinin and pathogen tolerance in A. annua.