- In Arabidopsis thaliana, small peptides (AtPeps) encoded by PROPEP genes act as damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) that are perceived by two leucine-rich repeat receptor kinases, PEPR1 and PEPR2, to amplify defense responses. In particular, expression of PROPEP2 and PROPEP3 is strongly and rapidly induced by AtPeps, in response to bacterial, oomycete, and fungal pathogens, and microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs).
- The cis-regulatory modules (CRMs) within the PROPEP2 and PROPEP3 promoters that mediate MAMP responsiveness were delineated, employing parsley (Petroselinum crispum) protoplasts and transgenic A. thaliana plants harboring promoter-reporter constructs. By chromatin immunoprecipitation in vivo, DNA interactions with a specific transcription factor were detected. Furthermore, the phastCons program was used to identify conserved regions of the PROPEP3 locus in different Brassicaceae species.
- The major MAMP-responsive CRM within the PROPEP2 promoter is composed of several W boxes and an as1/OCS (activation sequence-1/octopine synthase) enhancer element, while in the PROPEP3 promoter the CRM is comprised of six W boxes. The WRKY33 transcription factor binds in vivo to these promoter regions in a MAMP-dependent manner. Both the position and orientation of the six W boxes are conserved within the PROPEP3 promoters of four other Brassicaceae family members.
- WRKY factors are the major regulators of MAMP-induced PROPEP2 and PROPEP3 expression.