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The WRKY70 Transcription Factor: A Node Of Convergence For Jasmonate-Mediated And Salicylate-Mediated Signals In Plant Defense[W]

Jing Li, Günter Brader, E. Tapio Palva

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AbstractCross talk between salicylic acid (SA)– and jasmonic acid (JA)–dependent defense signaling has been well documented in plants, but how this cross talk is executed and the components involved remain to be elucidated. We demonstrate that the plant-specific transcription factor WRKY70 is a common component in SA- and JA-mediated signal pathways. Expression of WRKY70 is activated by SA and repressed by JA. The early induction of WRKY70 by SA is NPR1-independent, but functional NPR1 is required for full-scale induction. Epistasis analysis suggested that WRKY70 is downstream of NPR1 in an SA-dependent signal pathway. Modulation of WRKY70 transcript levels by constitutive overexpression increases resistance to virulent pathogens and results in constitutive expression of SA-induced pathogenesis-related genes. Conversely, antisense suppression of WRKY70 activates JA-responsive/COI1-dependent genes. The effect of WRKY70 is not caused by subsequent changes in SA or JA levels. We suggest that WRKY70 acts as an activator of SA-induced genes and a repressor of JA-responsive genes, integrating signals from these mutually antagonistic pathways.