Plant A20/AN1 protein serves as the important hub to mediate antiviral immunity

<div><p>Salicylic acid (SA) is a key phytohormone that mediates a broad spectrum of resistance against a diverse range of viruses; however, the downstream pathway of SA governed antiviral immune response remains largely to be explored. Here, we identified an orchid protein containing A20 and AN1 zinc finger domains, designated Pha13. Pha13 is up-regulated upon virus infection, and the transgenic monocot orchid and dicot <i>Arabidopsis</i> overexpressing orchid Pha13 conferred greater resistance to different viruses. In addition, our data showed that <i>Arabidopsis</i> homolog of <i>Pha13</i>, <i>AtSAP5</i>, is also involved in virus resistance. Pha13 and AtSAP5 are early induced by exogenous SA treatment, and participate in the expression of SA-mediated immune responsive genes, including the master regulator gene of plant immunity, <i>NPR1</i>, as well as NPR1-independent virus defense genes. SA also induced the proteasome degradation of Pha13. Functional domain analysis revealed that AN1 domain of Pha13 is involved in expression of orchid NPR1 through its AN1 domain, whereas dual A20/AN1 domains orchestrated the overall virus resistance. Subcellular localization analysis suggested that Pha13 can be found localized in the nucleus. Self-ubiquitination assay revealed that Pha13 confer E3 ligase activity, and the main E3 ligase activity was mapped to the A20 domain. Identification of Pha13 interacting proteins and substrate by yeast two-hybrid screening revealed mainly ubiquitin proteins. Further detailed biochemical analysis revealed that A20 domain of Pha13 binds to various polyubiquitin chains, suggesting that Pha13 may interact with multiple ubiquitinated proteins. Our findings revealed that Pha13 serves as an important regulatory hub in plant antiviral immunity, and uncover a delicate mode of immune regulation through the coordination of A20 and/or AN1 domains, as well as through the modulation of E3 ligase and ubiquitin chain binding activity of Pha13.</p></div>