RPW8.1 enhances the ethylene-signaling pathway to feedback-attenuate its mediated cell death and disease resistance in Arabidopsis

New Phytol. 2021 Jan;229(1):516-531. doi: 10.1111/nph.16857. Epub 2020 Sep 5.


The Arabidopsis RESISTANCE TO POWDERY MILDEW 8.1 (RPW8.1) activates confined cell death and defense against different pathogens. However, the underlying regulatory mechanisms still remain elusive. Here, we show that RPW8.1 activates ethylene signaling that, in turn, negatively regulates RPW8.1 expression. RPW8.1 binds and stabilizes 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate oxidase 4 (ACO4), which may in part explain increased ethylene production and signaling in RPW8.1-expressing plants. In return, ACO4 and other key components of ethylene signaling negatively regulate RPW8.1-mediated cell death and disease resistance via suppressing RPW8.1 expression. Loss of function in ACO4, EIN2, EIN3 EIL1, ERF6, ERF016 or ORA59 increases RPW8.1-mediated cell death and defense response. By contrast, overexpression of EIN3 abolishes or significantly compromises RPW8.1-mediated cell death and disease resistance. Furthermore, ERF6, ERF016 and ORA59 appear to act as trans-repressors of RPW8.1, with OAR59 being able to directly bind to the RPW8.1 promoter. Taken together, our results have revealed a feedback regulatory circuit connecting RPW8.1 and the ethylene-signaling pathway, in which RPW8.1 enhances ethylene signaling, and the latter, in return, negatively regulates RPW8.1-mediated cell death and defense response via suppressing RPW8.1 expression to attenuate its defense activity.

Keywords: ACO4; EIN3/EIL1; ERF016; ERF6; ORA59; RPW8.1; ethylene signaling; powdery mildew.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis Proteins* / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins* / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis* / genetics
  • Arabidopsis* / metabolism
  • Ascomycota* / metabolism
  • Cell Death
  • Disease Resistance
  • Ethylenes
  • Feedback
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Plant Diseases
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Ethylenes