The tomato transcription factor Pti4, an ethylene-responsive factor (ERF), interacts physically with the disease resistance protein Pto and binds the GCC box cis element that is present in the promoters of many pathogenesis-related ( PR ) genes. We reported previously that Arabidopsis plants expressing Pti4 constitutively express several GCC box–containing PR genes and show reduced disease symptoms compared with wild-type plants after inoculation with Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato or Erysiphe orontii . To gain insight into how genome-wide gene expression is affected by Pti4, we used serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE) to compare transcripts in wild-type and Pti4-expressing Arabidopsis plants. SAGE provided quantitative measurements of >20,000 transcripts and identified the 50 most highly expressed genes in Arabidopsis vegetative tissues. Comparison of the profiles from wild-type and Pti4-expressing Arabidopsis plants revealed 78 differentially abundant transcripts encoding defense-related proteins, protein kinases, ribosomal proteins, transporters, and two transcription factors (TFs). Many of the genes identified were expressed differentially in wild-type Arabidopsis during infection by Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato , supporting a role for them in defense-related processes. Unexpectedly, the promoters of most Pti4-regulated genes did not have a GCC box. Chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments confirmed that Pti4 binds in vivo to promoters lacking this cis element. Potential binding sites for ERF, MYB, and GBF TFs were present in statistically significantly increased numbers in promoters regulated by Pti4. Thus, Pti4 appears to regulate gene expression directly by binding the GCC box and possibly a non-GCC box element and indirectly by either activating the expression of TF genes or interacting physically with other TFs.
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