Expression profiling of marker genes responsive to the defence-associated phytohormones salicylic acid, jasmonic acid and ethylene in Brachypodium distachyon

Yusuke Kouzai, Mamiko Kimura, Yurie Yamanaka, Megumi Watanabe, Hidenori Matsui, Mikihiro Yamamoto, Yuki Ichinose, Kazuhiro Toyoda, Yoshihiko Onda, Keiichi Mochida, Yoshiteru Noutoshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Brachypodium distachyon is a promising model plants for grasses. Infections of Brachypodium by various pathogens that severely impair crop production have been reported, and the species accordingly provides an alternative platform for investigating molecular mechanisms of pathogen virulence and plant disease resistance. To date, we have a broad picture of plant immunity only in Arabidopsis and rice; therefore, Brachypodium may constitute a counterpart that displays the commonality and uniqueness of defence systems among plant species. Phytohormones play key roles in plant biotic stress responses, and hormone-responsive genes are used to qualitatively and quantitatively evaluate disease resistance responses during pathogen infection. For these purposes, defence-related phytohormone marker genes expressed at time points suitable for defence-response monitoring are needed. Information about their expression profiles over time as well as their response specificity is also helpful. However, useful marker genes are still rare in Brachypodium. Results: We selected 34 candidates for Brachypodium marker genes on the basis of protein-sequence similarity to known marker genes used in Arabidopsis and rice. Brachypodium plants were treated with the defence-related phytohormones salicylic acid, jasmonic acid and ethylene, and their transcription levels were measured 24 and 48h after treatment. Two genes for salicylic acid, 7 for jasmonic acid and 2 for ethylene were significantly induced at either or both time points. We then focused on 11 genes encoding pathogenesis-related (PR) 1 protein and compared their expression patterns with those of Arabidopsis and rice. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that Brachypodium contains several PR1-family genes similar to rice genes. Our expression profiling revealed that regulation patterns of some PR1 genes as well as of markers identified for defence-related phytohormones are closely related to those in rice. Conclusion: We propose that the Brachypodium immune hormone marker genes identified in this study will be useful to plant pathologists who use Brachypodium as a model pathosystem, because the timing of their transcriptional activation matches that of the disease resistance response. Our results using Brachypodium also suggest that monocots share a characteristic immune system, defined as the common defence system, that is different from that of dicots.

Original languageEnglish
Article number59
JournalBMC Plant Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2 2016


  • Brachypodium distachyon
  • Defense mechanism
  • Ethylene
  • Immunity system
  • Jasmonic acid
  • Marker gene
  • Phytohormone
  • Plant disease resistance
  • Salicylic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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