Plant Cell Reports

, Volume 37, Issue 11, pp 1523–1532 | Cite as

Expression of a maize NBS gene ZmNBS42 enhances disease resistance in Arabidopsis

  • Yunjian Xu
  • Fang Liu
  • Suwen Zhu
  • Xiaoyu LiEmail author
Original Article


Key message

Expression of the ZmNBS42 in Arabidopsis plants conferred resistance to bacterial pathogens, providing potential resistance enhancement of maize in further genetic breeding.


Nucleotide-binding site (NBS) domain proteins play critical roles in disease resistance. In this study, we isolate a novel NBS gene ZmNBS42 from maize and systematically investigate its function on disease resistance. We find that the expression levels of ZmNBS42 in maize leaf were strikingly increased in response to Bipolaris maydis inoculation and SA treatment. The spatial expression pattern analysis reveals that, during development, ZmNBS42 is ubiquitously highly expressed in maize root, leaf, stem, internode and seed, but lowly expressed in pericarp and embryo. To better understand the roles of ZmNBS42, we overexpressed ZmNBS42 in heterologous systems. Transient overexpression of ZmNBS42 in the leaves of Nicotiana benthamiana induces a hypersensitive response. ZmNBS42 overexpression (ZmNBS42-OE) Arabidopsis plants produced more SA content than Col-0 plants, and increased the expression levels of some defense-responsive genes compared to Col-0 plants. Moreover, the ZmNBS42-OE Arabidopsis plants displayed enhanced resistance against Pseudomonas syringae pathovar tomato DC3000 (Pst DC3000). These results together suggest that ZmNBS42 can serve as an important regulator in disease resistance, thus better understanding of ZmNBS42 would benefit the resistance enhancement in maize breeding programs.


Disease resistance NBS Maize Arabidopsis 



This study was supported by National Key Research and Development Program of China (no. 2016YFD0300300), National Science Foundation of China (no. 31470465) and Graduate Innovation Fund of Anhui Agricultural University (no. 2018yjs-40).

Author contribution statement

YX, FL, SZ and XL conceived the project. YX carried out the experiments and FL performed the statistical analysis. YX, FL, SZ and XL wrote the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

299_2018_2324_MOESM1_ESM.tif (687 kb)
Fig. S1 Chromosome location and gene structure of ZmNBS42. Yellow box indicates coding DNA sequence (CDS) and blue line represents untranslated regions (UTR) (TIF 686 KB)
299_2018_2324_MOESM2_ESM.tif (10.4 mb)
Fig. S2 Conserved domain comparisons of amino acid sequence between ZmNBS42 and other resistance proteins. Identical or conserved amino acids are shaded in dark, red and blue represent 100%, ≥75% and ≥50% similarity, respectively (TIF 10679 KB)
299_2018_2324_MOESM3_ESM.tif (105 kb)
Fig. S3 Heat map of ZmNBS2, ZmNBS3, ZmNBS42 and ZmNBS47 expression. The scale on the right represents expression levels. Red indicates high expression level, yellow indicates medium expression level, and blue indicates low expression level. V represents vegetative growth stage, R represents reproductive growth stage, H represents hours, DAS represents days after sowing and DAP represents days after pollination (TIF 104 KB)
299_2018_2324_MOESM4_ESM.xlsx (11 kb)
Table S1 Primers of qRT-PCR used in this study (XLSX 10 KB)
299_2018_2324_MOESM5_ESM.xlsx (11 kb)
Table S2 Accession of resistance proteins used in this study (XLSX 11 KB)
299_2018_2324_MOESM6_ESM.phb (8 kb)
Raw .phb file of phylogenetic tree in Figure 2 (PHB 8 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Engineering Laboratory of Crop Stress Resistance BreedingAnhui Agricultural UniversityHefeiChina
  2. 2.College of AgronomyAnhui Agricultural UniversityHefeiChina

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