ELF18-INDUCED LONG-NONCODING RNA Associates with Mediator to Enhance Expression of Innate Immune Response Genes in Arabidopsis

Plant Cell. 2017 May;29(5):1024-1038. doi: 10.1105/tpc.16.00886. Epub 2017 Apr 11.


The plant immune response is a complex process involving transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression. Responses to plant immunity are initiated upon the perception of pathogen-associated molecular patterns, including peptide fragment of bacterial flagellin (flg22) or translation elongation factor Tu (elf18). Here, we identify an Arabidopsis thaliana long-noncoding RNA, designated ELF18-INDUCED LONG-NONCODING RNA1 (ELENA1), as a factor enhancing resistance against Pseudomonas syringe pv tomato DC3000. ELENA1 knockdown plants show decreased expression of PATHOGENESIS-RELATED GENE1 (PR1) and the plants are susceptible to pathogens. By contrast, plants overexpressing ELENA1 show elevated PR1 expression after elf18 treatment and display a pathogen resistance phenotype. RNA-sequencing analysis of ELENA1-overexpressing plants after elf18 treatment confirms increased expression of defense-related genes compared with the wild type. ELENA1 directly interacts with Mediator subunit 19a (MED19a) and affects enrichment of MED19a on the PR1 promoter. These results show that MED19a regulates PR1 expression through ELENA1. Our findings uncover an additional layer of complexity, implicating long-noncoding RNAs in the transcriptional regulation of plant innate immunity.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / immunology*
  • Arabidopsis / microbiology
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / physiology
  • Plant Immunity / genetics
  • Plant Immunity / physiology
  • Pseudomonas syringae / pathogenicity
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics*
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / physiology*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • PR-1 protein, Arabidopsis