The Arabidopsis E3 ubiquitin ligase PUB4 regulates BIK1 and is targeted by a bacterial type-III effector

Plant immunity is tightly controlled by a complex and dynamic regulatory network, which ensures optimal activation upon detection of potential pathogens. Accordingly, each component of this network is a potential target for manipulation by pathogens. Here, we report that RipAC, a type III-secreted effector from the bacterial pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum, targets the plant E3 ubiquitin ligase PUB4 to inhibit pattern-triggered immunity (PTI). PUB4 plays a positive role in PTI by regulating the homeostasis of the central immune kinase BIK1. Before PAMP perception, PUB4 promotes the degradation of non-activated BIK1, while after PAMP perception, PUB4 contributes to the accumulation of activated BIK1. RipAC leads to BIK1 degradation, which correlates with its PTI-inhibitory activity. RipAC causes a reduction in pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP)-induced PUB4 accumulation and phosphorylation. Our results shed light on the role played by PUB4 in immune regulation, and illustrate an indirect targeting of the immune signalling hub BIK1 by a bacterial effector.