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. A review article entitled “Hormonal modulation of plant immunity” (Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology 28: 489-521) provides an in depth update on this emerging topic in plant defense signaling research. Using high-density whole genome expression profiles, we build dynamic gene regulatory network models of the antagonistic SA-JA signal interaction in Arabidopsis. 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.