Saskia van Wees

Hormone crosstalk in plant immunity 

An important question in plant defense signaling research is how plants integrate signals induced by pathogens, beneficial microbes and insects into the most appropriate adaptive response. The plant hormones salicylic acid (SA) and jasmonic acid (JA) emerged as main regulators of plant defense responses. Cross-communication between SA and JA signaling enables the plant to finely tune its immune response. These review articles provides an in depth update on plant defense signaling research (Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology 28: 489-521; Plant Journal 105: 489–504). Using high-density whole genome expression profiles, we build dynamic gene regulatory network models of the antagonistic SA-JA signal interaction in Arabidopsis (Plant Cell 29: 2086-2105). This allows us to uncover novel regulators of pathway crosstalk. Their biological significance is verified in multi-attacker situations. This knowledge will reveal strategies to breed agricultural crops with a broad-spectrum cost-efficient resistance to improve yield and reduce the need for pesticides.