Plants are sessile organisms, and they can not move away under abiotic or biotic stresses. Thus plants have evolved a set of genes that response to adverse environment to modulate gene expression. In this study, we characterized and functionally studied an ERF transcription factor from Artemisia annua, AaERF1, which plays an important role in biotic stress responses. The AaERF1 promoter had been cloned and GUS staining results of AaERF1 promoter-GUS transgenic A. annua showed that AaERF1 is expressed ubiquitiously in all organs. Several putative cis-acting elements such as W-box, TGA-box and Py-rich element, which are involved in defense responsiveness, are present in the promoter. The expression of AaERF1 can be induced vigorously by methyl jasmonate as well as by ethephon and wounding, implying that AaERF1 may activate some of the defense genes via the jasmonic acid and ethylene signaling pathways of A. annua. The results of electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) and yeast one-hybrid experiments showed that AaERF1 was able to bind to the GCC box cis-acting element in vitro and in yeast. Ectopic expression of AaERF1 could enhance the expression levels of the defense marker genes PLANT DEFENSIN1.2 (PDF1.2) and BASIC CHITINASE (ChiB), and increase the resistance to Botrytis cinerea in the 35S::AaERF1 transgenic Arabidopsis. The down-regulated expression level of AaERF1 evidently reduced the resistance to B. cinerea in A. annua. The overall results showed that AaERF1 positively regulated the resistance to B. cinerea in A. annua. © 2013 Lu et al.
Lu, X., Jiang, W., Zhang, L., Zhang, F., Zhang, F., Shen, Q., … Tang, K. (2013). AaERF1 Positively Regulates the Resistance to Botrytis cinerea in Artemisia annua. PLoS ONE, 8(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0057657