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PLoS Genet. 2013 Apr;9(4):e1003422. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003422. Epub 2013 Apr 4.

Phosphorylation-coupled proteolysis of the transcription factor MYC2 is important for jasmonate-signaled plant immunity.

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State Key Laboratory of Plant Genomics, National Centre for Plant Gene Research-Beijing, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.


As a master regulator of jasmonic acid (JA)-signaled plant immune responses, the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) Leu zipper transcription factor MYC2 differentially regulates different subsets of JA-responsive genes through distinct mechanisms. However, how MYC2 itself is regulated at the protein level remains unknown. Here, we show that proteolysis of MYC2 plays a positive role in regulating the transcription of its target genes. We discovered a 12-amino-acid element in the transcription activation domain (TAD) of MYC2 that is required for both the proteolysis and the transcriptional activity of MYC2. Interestingly, MYC2 phosphorylation at residue Thr328, which facilitates its turnover, is also required for the MYC2 function to regulate gene transcription. Together, these results reveal that phosphorylation-coupled turnover of MYC2 stimulates its transcription activity. Our results exemplify that, as with animals, plants employ an "activation by destruction" mechanism to fine-tune their transcriptome to adapt to their ever-changing environment.

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