Plant Molecular Biology Reporter

, Volume 36, Issue 5–6, pp 888–896 | Cite as

The Cotton GhRac6 Gene Encoding a Plant ROP/RAC Protein Improves the Plant Defense Response to Aphid Feeding

  • Zhen Yang
  • Jianjian Liu
  • Liang Luo
  • Sui Ye
  • Yazhen Yang
  • Guohui Zhang
  • Xiangping Wang
  • Jianmin ZhangEmail author
Original Paper


The plant ROP/RAC protein belongs to a subfamily of Rho family GTPases that inimitably exists in plants. It is considered an all-powerful molecular switch that modulates various plant developmental processes and plant defense responses to multifarious stresses. However, their exact roles are currently not entirely clear. Herein, the role of GhRac6, a ROP/RAC member from Gossypium hirsutum, was explored in the plant defense response to aphid feeding using transgenic technology. The deduced sequence of the GhRac6 protein is highly homologous to that of ROP/RAC proteins from other plants. GhRac6 expression was significantly upregulated in cotton leaves after damage by cotton aphids or wounding. The results of choice and no-choice tests showed that the number of aphids on GhRac6-overexpressing transgenic Arabidopsis was more than that on wild-type plants, while the secreted quantity of aphid honeydew in transgenic Arabidopsis was less than that in wild-type plants. Furthermore, the soluble sugar content and the proline content were higher in transgenic than in wild-type Arabidopsis to a certain extent. The activity of PAL and CAT in transgenic Arabidopsis was also higher than that in wild-type plants. Callose deposits were more abundant in transgenic than in wild-type Arabidopsis. The expression of related defense genes in the salicylic acid signaling pathway was considerably higher in transgenic than in wild-type Arabidopsis. These results collectively demonstrated that the cotton ROP gene GhRac6 improved the plant defense response to aphid feeding by regulating some aphid resistance indexes.


GhRac6 Gossypium hirsutum Arabidopsis Aphids Defense response 



Suppression subtractive hybridization 62


Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction


Expressed sequence tag


Open reading frame


Murashige and Skoog


Polymerase chain reaction


Phenylalanine ammonia lyase




Author Contributions

Z.J.M. and Y.Y.Z. designed the research. Y.Z., L.L., L.J.J., Y.S., and Z.G.H. performed the experiments. Y.Z., Z.J.M., and W.X.P. analyzed the data and wrote the manuscript.

Funding Information

This work was supported by a grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 31471783).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhen Yang
    • 1
  • Jianjian Liu
    • 1
  • Liang Luo
    • 1
  • Sui Ye
    • 1
  • Yazhen Yang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Guohui Zhang
    • 1
  • Xiangping Wang
    • 1
  • Jianmin Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.College of Agriculture/Institute of EntomologyYangtze UniversityJingzhouChina
  2. 2.College of Biological SciencesYangtze UniversityJingzhouChina

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