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Science 306 (5701): 1515-1516

Copyright © 2004 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Keeping the Leaves Green Above Us

Aurélie Gfeller, and Edward E. Farmer*

Abstract: The plant immune system relies to a great extent on the highly regulated expression of hundreds of defense genes encoding antimicrobial proteins, such as defensins, and antiherbivore proteins, such as lectins. The expression of many of these genes is controlled by a family of mediators known as jasmonates; these cyclic oxygenated fatty acid derivatives are reminiscent of prostaglandins. The roles of jasmonates also extend to the control of reproductive development. How are these complex events regulated? Nearly 20 members of the jasmonate family have been characterized. Some, like jasmonic acid, exist in unmodified forms, whereas others are conjugated to other lipids or to hydrophobic amino acids. Why do so many chemically different forms of these mediators exist, and do individual jasmonates have unique signaling properties or are they made to facilitate transport within and between cells? Key features of the jasmonate signal pathway have been identified and include the specific activation of E3-type ubiquitin ligases thought to target as-yet-undescribed transcriptional repressors for modification or destruction. Several classes of transcription factor are known to function in the jasmonate pathway, and, in some cases, these proteins provide nodes that integrate this network with other important defensive and developmental pathways. Progress in jasmonate research is now rapid, but large gaps in our knowledge exist. Aimed to keep pace with progress, the ensemble of jasmonate Connections Maps at the Signal Transduction Knowledge Environment describe (i) the canonical signaling pathway, (ii) the Arabidopsis signaling pathway, and (iii) the biogenesis and structures of the jasmonates themselves.

Gene Expression Laboratory, Plant Molecular Biology, University of Lausanne, Biology Building, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: edward.farmer{at}

The developmental selector AS1 is an evolutionarily conserved regulator of the plant immune response.
P. L. Nurmberg, K. A. Knox, B.-W. Yun, P. C. Morris, R. Shafiei, A. Hudson, and G. J. Loake (2007)
PNAS 104, 18795-18800
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
The Antagonist Function of Arabidopsis WRKY53 and ESR/ESP in Leaf Senescence Is Modulated by the Jasmonic and Salicylic Acid Equilibrium.
Y. Miao and U. Zentgraf (2007)
PLANT CELL 19, 819-830
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Functional Diversification of Acyl-Coenzyme A Oxidases in Jasmonic Acid Biosynthesis and Action.
A. L. Schilmiller, A. J.K. Koo, and G. A. Howe (2007)
Plant Physiology 143, 812-824
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Identification of a Peroxisomal Acyl-activating Enzyme Involved in the Biosynthesis of Jasmonic Acid in Arabidopsis.
A. J. K. Koo, H. S. Chung, Y. Kobayashi, and G. A. Howe (2006)
J. Biol. Chem. 281, 33511-33520
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »

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