WRKY proteins are involved in various physiological processes in plants, especially in coping with diverse biotic and abiotic stresses. However, limited information is available on the roles of specific WRKY transcription factors in poplar defense. In this study, we reported the characterization of PtoWRKY60 , a Group IIa WRKY member, from Populus tomentosa Carr. The gene expression profile of PtoWRKY60 in various tissues showed that it significantly accumulated in old leaves. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that PtoWRKY60 had a close relationship with AtWRKY18, AtWRKY40 and AtWRKY60. PtoWRKY60 was induced mainly by salicylic acid (SA) and slightly by Dothiorella gregaria Sacc., jasmonic acid, wounding treatment, low temperature and salinity stresses. Overexpression of PtoWRKY60 in poplar resulted in increased resistance to D. gregaria . The defense-associated genes, such as PR5.1 , PR5.2 , PR5.4 , PR5.5 and C PR5 , were markedly up-regulated in transgenic plants overexpressing PtoWRKY60 . These results indicate that PtoWRKY60 might be partly involved in the signal transduction pathway initiated by SA in Populus .
Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition