Plant defence against pests and pathogens is known to be conferred by either salicylic acid (SA) or jasmonic acid (JA)/ethylene (ET) pathways, depending on infection or herbivore-grazing strategy. It is well attested that SA and JA/ET pathways are mutually antagonistic allowing defence responses to be tailored to particular biotic stresses. Nitric oxide (NO) has emerged as a major signal influencing resistance mediated by both signalling pathways but no attempt has been made to integrate NO into established SA/JA/ET interactions. NO has been shown to act as an inducer or suppressor of signalling along each pathway. NO will initiate SA biosynthesis and nitrosylate key cysteines on TGA-class transcription factors to aid in the initiation of SA—dependent gene expression. Against this, S-nitrosylation of NONEXPRESSOR OF PATHOGENESIS-RELATED PROTEINS1 (NPR1) will promote the NPR1 oligomerisation within the cytoplasm to reduce TGA activation. In JA biosynthesis, NO will initiate the expression of JA biosynthetic enzymes, presumably to over-come any antagonistic effects of SA on JA-mediated transcription. NO will also initiate the expression of ET biosynthetic genes but a suppressive role is also observed in the S –nitrosylation and inhibition of s-adenosylmethionine transferases which provides methyl groups for ethylene production. Based on these data a model for NO action is proposed but we have also highlighted the need to understand when and how inductive and suppressive steps are used.
Frontiers in Plant Science, 2013, Vol 4, Issue 215