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Plant Signal Behav. 2013 Mar;8(3):e23182. doi: 10.4161/psb.23182. Epub 2013 Jan 8.

The function of the Mediator complex in plant immunity.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Cell Science; University of Florida; Gainesville, FL USA.


Upon pathogen infection, plants undergo dramatic transcriptome reprogramming to shift from normal growth and development to immune response. During this rapid process, the multiprotein Mediator complex has been recognized as an important player to fine-tune gene-specific and pathway-specific transcriptional reprogramming by acting as an adaptor/coregulator between sequence-specific transcription factor and RNA polymerase II (RNAPII). Here, we review current understanding of the role of five functionally characterized Mediator subunits (MED8, MED15, MED16, MED21 and MED25) in plant immunity. All these Mediator subunits positively regulate resistance against leaf-infecting biotrophic bacteria or necrotrophic fungi. While MED21 appears to regulate defense against fungal pathogens via relaying signals from upstream regulators and chromatin modification to RNAPII, the other four Mediator subunits locate at different positions of the defense network to convey phytohormone signal(s). Fully understanding the role of Mediator in plant immunity needs to characterize more Mediator subunits in both Arabidopsis and other plant species. Identification of interacting proteins of Mediator subunits will further help to reveal their specific regulatory mechanisms in plant immunity.


Mediator; jasmonate/ethylene; plant defense; salicylate; transcription regulation

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