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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Salicylic acid signaling inhibits apoplastic reactive oxygen species signaling

Enjun Xu1 and Mikael Brosché12*

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Plant Biology, Department of Biosciences, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 65 (Viikinkaari 1), FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland

2 Institute of Technology, University of Tartu, Nooruse 1, Tartu 50411, Estonia

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BMC Plant Biology 2014, 14:155  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-14-155

Published: 4 June 2014



Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are used by plants as signaling molecules during stress and development. Given the amount of possible challenges a plant face from their environment, plants need to activate and prioritize between potentially conflicting defense signaling pathways. Until recently, most studies on signal interactions have focused on phytohormone interaction, such as the antagonistic relationship between salicylic acid (SA)-jasmonic acid and cytokinin-auxin.


In this study, we report an antagonistic interaction between SA signaling and apoplastic ROS signaling. Treatment with ozone (O3) leads to a ROS burst in the apoplast and induces extensive changes in gene expression and elevation of defense hormones. However, Arabidopsis thaliana dnd1 (defense no death1) exhibited an attenuated response to O3. In addition, the dnd1 mutant displayed constitutive expression of defense genes and spontaneous cell death. To determine the exact process which blocks the apoplastic ROS signaling, double and triple mutants involved in various signaling pathway were generated in dnd1 background. Simultaneous elimination of SA-dependent and SA-independent signaling components from dnd1 restored its responsiveness to O3. Conversely, pre-treatment of plants with SA or using mutants that constitutively activate SA signaling led to an attenuation of changes in gene expression elicited by O3.


Based upon these findings, we conclude that plants are able to prioritize the response between ROS and SA via an antagonistic action of SA and SA signaling on apoplastic ROS signaling.

Cell death; Ethylene; Gene expression; Jasmonic acid; Reactive oxygen species; Salicylic acid