Matrix metalloproteinases operate redundantly in Arabidopsis immunity against necrotrophic and biotrophic fungal pathogens
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are evolutionarily conserved and multifunctional effector molecules playing pivotal roles in development and homeostasis. In this study we explored the involvement of the five Arabidopsis thaliana At-MMPs in plant defence against microbial pathogens. Expression of At2-MMP was most responsive to inoculation with fungi and a bacterial pathogen followed by At3-MMP and At5-MMP, while At1-MMP and At4-MMP were non-responsive to these biotic stresses. Loss-of-function mutants for all tested At-MMPs displayed increased susceptibility to the necrotrophic fungus Botrytis cinerea and double mutant at2,3-mmp and triple mutant at2,3,5-mmp plants developed even stronger symptoms. Consistent with this, transgenic Arabidopsis plants that expressed At2-MMP constitutively under the Cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter showed enhanced resistance to the necrotrophic pathogen. Similarly, resistance to the biotrophic Arabidopsis powdery mildew fungus Golovinomyces orontii was also compromised particularly in the at2,3-mmp / at2,3,5-mmp multiplex mutants, and increased in At2-MMP overexpressor plants. The degree of disease resistance of at-mmp mutants and At2-MMP overexpressor plants also correlated positively with the degree of MAMP-triggered callose deposition in response to the bacterial flagellin peptide flg22, suggesting that matrix metalloproteinases contribute to pattern-triggered immunity (PTI) in interactions of Arabidopsis with necrotrophic and biotrophic pathogens.