Serotonin N-acetyltransferase (SNAT) is the penultimate enzyme in the melatonin biosynthesis pathway in plants. We examined the effects of SNAT gene inactivation in two Arabidopsis T-DNA insertion mutant lines. After inoculation with the avirulent pathogen Pseudomonas syringe pv. tomato DC3000 harboring the elicitor avrRpt2 (Pst-avrRpt2), melatonin levels in the snat knockout mutant lines were 50% less than in wild-type Arabidopsis Col-0 plants. The snat knockout mutant lines exhibited susceptibility to pathogen infection that coincided with decreased induction of defense genes including PR1, ICS1, and PDF1.2. Because melatonin acts upstream of salicylic acid (SA) synthesis, the reduced melatonin levels in the snat mutant lines led to decreased SA levels compared to wild-type, suggesting that the increased pathogen susceptibility of the snat mutant lines could be attributed to decreased SA levels and subsequent attenuation of defense gene induction. Exogenous melatonin treatment failed to induce defense gene expression in nahG Arabidopsis plants, but restored the induction of defense gene expression in the snat mutant lines. In addition, melatonin caused translocation of NPR1 (nonexpressor of PR1) protein from the cytoplasm into the nucleus indicating that melatonin-elicited pathogen resistance in response to avirulent pathogen attack is SA-dependent in Arabidopsis.
- defense system
- ethylene signaling
- innate immunity
- serotonin N-acetyltransferase
ASJC Scopus subject areas