Regulation of growth-defense balance by the JASMONATE ZIM-DOMAIN (JAZ)-MYC transcriptional module.


The plant hormone jasmonate (JA) promotes the degradation of JASMONATE ZIM-DOMAIN (JAZ) proteins to relieve repression on diverse transcription factors (TFs) that execute JA responses. However, little is known about how combinatorial complexity among JAZ-TF interactions maintains control over myriad aspects of growth, development, reproduction, and immunity. We used loss-of-function mutations to define epistatic interactions within the core JA signaling pathway and to investigate the contribution of MYC TFs to JA responses in Arabidopsis thaliana. Constitutive JA signaling in a jaz quintuple mutant (jazQ) was largely eliminated by mutations that block JA synthesis or perception. Comparison of jazQ and a jazQ myc2 myc3 myc4 octuple mutant validated known functions of MYC2/3/4 in root growth, chlorophyll degradation, and susceptibility to the pathogen Pseudomonas syringae. We found that MYC TFs also control both the enhanced resistance of jazQ leaves to insect herbivory and restricted leaf growth of jazQ. Epistatic transcriptional profiles mirrored these phenotypes and further showed that triterpenoid biosynthetic and glucosinolate catabolic genes are up-regulated in jazQ independently of MYC TFs. Our study highlights the utility of genetic epistasis to unravel the complexities of JAZ-TF interactions and demonstrates that MYC TFs exert master control over a JAZ-repressible transcriptional hierarchy that governs growth-defense balance.





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Publication Info

Major, Ian T, Yuki Yoshida, Marcelo L Campos, George Kapali, Xiu-Fang Xin, Koichi Sugimoto, Dalton de Oliveira Ferreira, Sheng Yang He, et al. (2017). Regulation of growth-defense balance by the JASMONATE ZIM-DOMAIN (JAZ)-MYC transcriptional module. The New phytologist, 215(4). pp. 1533–1547. 10.1111/nph.14638 Retrieved from

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Sheng-Yang He

Benjamin E. Powell Distinguished Professor of Biology

Interested in the fascinating world of plants, microbes or inter-organismal communication and co-evolution? Please contact Prof. Sheng-Yang He (;

Millions of years of co-evolution between plants and microbes have resulted in an intricate web of attack, counter-attack, decoy, and hijacking mechanisms in biology. Moreover, co-evolution between plants and microbes is greatly impacted by ongoing climate change. In our lab, we probe “host-microbe-climate” interactions to answer the following fundamental questions: (1) How do microbial pathogens infect a susceptible host? (2) How do plants select beneficial microbiomes to ensure health? (3) How do climate conditions impact disease and immunity?      

We use contemporary methods to address these questions, including those commonly used in molecular genetics, genomics, biochemistry, cell biology, bioinformatics, microbiology, plant biology, co-evolution and infectious disease biology.    

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