Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 87, Issue 3, pp 287–302 | Cite as

The pearl millet mitogen-activated protein kinase PgMPK4 is involved in responses to downy mildew infection and in jasmonic- and salicylic acid-mediated defense

  • Prasad Melvin
  • S. Ashok Prabhu
  • Mariswamy Veena
  • Sekhar Shailasree
  • Morten Petersen
  • John Mundy
  • Shekar H. Shetty
  • K. Ramachandra Kini


Plant mitogen-activated protein kinases (MPKs) transduce signals required for the induction of immunity triggered by host recognition of pathogen-associated molecular patterns. We isolated a full-length cDNA of a group B MPK (PgMPK4) from pearl millet. Autophosphorylation assay of recombinant PgMPK4 produced in Escherichia coli confirmed it as a kinase. Differential accumulation of PgMPK4 mRNA and kinase activity was observed between pearl millet cultivars 852B and IP18292 in response to inoculation with the downy mildew oomycete pathogen Sclerospora graminicola. This increased accumulation of PgMPK4 mRNA, kinase activity as well as nuclear-localization of PgMPK protein(s) was only detected in the S. graminicola resistant cultivar IP18292 with a ~tenfold peak at 9 h post inoculation. In the susceptible cultivar 852B, PgMPK4 mRNA and immuno-detectable nuclear PgMPK could be induced by application of the chemical elicitor β-amino butyric acid, the non-pathogenic bacteria Pseudomonas fluorescens, or by the phytohormones jasmonic acid (JA) or salicylic acid (SA). Furthermore, kinase inhibitor treatments indicated that PgMPK4 is involved in the JA- and SA-mediated expression of three defense genes, lipoxygenase, catalase 3 and polygalacturonase-inhibitor protein. These findings indicate that PgMPK/s contribute to pearl millet defense against the downy mildew pathogen by activating the expression of defense proteins.


Elicitors Immunolocalization Kinase inhibitors MPK PR proteins qPCR 



This work was financially supported by the University Grant Commission, New Delhi, India. We acknowledge the recognition of University of Mysore as an Institution of Excellence by the Government of India with financial support from the Ministry of Human Resource Development and University Grants Commission, India. The European Molecular Biology Organization is thanked for a short-term fellowship to MP. JM thanks the Novo Foundation for support from the University of Copenhagen Denmark-India program.

Supplementary material

11103_2014_276_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (272 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 272 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Prasad Melvin
    • 1
  • S. Ashok Prabhu
    • 1
  • Mariswamy Veena
    • 1
  • Sekhar Shailasree
    • 2
  • Morten Petersen
    • 3
  • John Mundy
    • 3
  • Shekar H. Shetty
    • 1
  • K. Ramachandra Kini
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Studies in Biotechnology, ManasagangotriUniversity of MysoreMysoreIndia
  2. 2.Institution of Excellence, Vijnana Bhavan, ManasagangotriUniversity of MysoreMysoreIndia
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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