Arabidopsis bZIP11 Is a Susceptibility Factor during Pseudomonas syringae Infection

Matthew J. Prior, Jebasingh Selvanayagam, Jung Gun Kim, Monika Tomar, Martin Jonikas, Mary Beth Mudgett, Sjef Smeekens, Johannes Hanson, Wolf B. Frommer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The induction of plant nutrient secretion systems is critical for successful pathogen infection. Some bacterial pathogens (e.g., Xanthomonas spp.) use transcription activator-like (TAL) effectors to induce transcription of SWEET sucrose efflux transporters. Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato strain DC3000 lacks TAL effectors yet is able to induce multiple SWEETs in Arabidopsis thaliana by unknown mechanisms. Because bacteria require other nutrients in addition to sugars for efficient reproduction, we hypothesized that Pseudomonas spp. may depend on host transcription factors involved in secretory programs to increase access to essential nutrients. Bioinformatic analyses identified the Arabidopsis basic-leucine zipper transcription factor bZIP11 as a potential regulator of nutrient transporters, including SWEETs and UmamiT amino acid transporters. Inducible downregulation of bZIP11 expression in Arabidopsis resulted in reduced growth of P. syringae pv. tomato strain DC3000, whereas inducible overexpression of bZIP11 resulted in increased bacterial growth, supporting the hypothesis that bZIP11-regulated transcription programs are essential for maximal pathogen titer in leaves. Our data are consistent with a model in which a pathogen alters host transcription factor expression upstream of secretory transcription networks to promote nutrient efflux from host cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-447
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Plant-Microbe Interactions
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Physiology


  • BZIP transcription factor
  • Bacterial pathogenesis
  • Plant nutrient secretion systems
  • Plant responses to pathogens
  • Secretion and cell wall changes
  • Susceptibility factor
  • Type 3 secretion


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