Verticillium wilt is threatening the world's cotton production. The pathogenic fungus Verticillium dahliae can survive in the soil in the form of microsclerotia for a long time, colonize through the root of cotton, and invade into vascular bundles, causing yellowing and wilting of cotton leaves, and in serious cases, leading to plant death. Breeding resistant varieties is the most economical and effective method to control Verticillium wilt. In previous studies, proteomic analysis was carried out on different cotton varieties inoculated with V. dahliae strain Vd080. It was found that GhRPS6 was phosphorylated after inoculation, and the phosphorylation level in resistant cultivars was 1.5 times than that in susceptible cultivars. In this study, knockdown of GhRPS6 expression results in the reduction of SA and JA content, and suppresses a series of defensive response, enhancing cotton plants susceptibility to V. dahliae. Overexpression in Arabidopsis thaliana transgenic plants was found to be more resistant to V. dahliae. Further, serines at 237 and 240 were mutated to phenylalanine, respectively and jointly. The transgenic Arabidopsis plants demonstrated that seri-237 compromised the plant resistance to V. dahliae. Subcellular localization in Nicotiana benthamiana showed that GhRPS6 was localized in the nucleus. Additionally, the pathogen inoculation and phosphorylation site mutation did not change its localization. These results indicate that GhRPS6 is a potential molecular target for improving resistance to Verticillium wilt in cotton. This lays a foundation for breeding disease-resistant varieties.
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