Nature 464, 788-791 (1 April 2010) | doi:10.1038/nature08854; Received 15 July 2009; Accepted 13 January 2010

NINJA connects the co-repressor TOPLESS to jasmonate signalling

Laurens Pauwels1,2,9, Gemma Fernández Barbero3,9, Jan Geerinck1,2,9, Sofie Tilleman1,2, Wim Grunewald1,2,5, Amparo Cuéllar Pérez1,2, José Manuel Chico3, Robin Vanden Bossche1,2, Jared Sewell6, Eduardo Gil4, Gloria García-Casado4, Erwin Witters7,8, Dirk Inzé1,2, Jeff A. Long6, Geert De Jaeger1,2, Roberto Solano3,4 & Alain Goossens1,2

  1. Department of Plant Systems Biology, Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), Technologiepark 927, B-9052 Gent, Belgium
  2. Department of Plant Biotechnology and Genetics, Ghent University, Technologiepark 927, B-9052 Gent, Belgium
  3. Departamento de Genética Molecular de Plantas,
  4. Genomics Unit, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología-CSIC, Campus Universidad Autónoma, 28049 Madrid, Spain
  5. Department of Molecular Biotechnology, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure links 653, B-9000 Gent, Belgium
  6. Plant Biology Laboratory, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, 10010 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California 92037, USA
  7. Department of Biology, EBT-CEPROMA, University of Antwerp, Groenenborgerlaan 171, B-2020 Antwerpen, Belgium
  8. Flemish Institute for Technological Research VITO-MANT, Boeretang 200, B-2400 Mol, Belgium
  9. These authors contributed equally to this work.

Correspondence to: Alain Goossens1,2 Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to A.G. (Email: alain.goossens@psb.vib-ugent.be).

Jasmonoyl-isoleucine (JA-Ile) is a plant hormone that regulates a broad array of plant defence and developmental processes1, 2, 3, 4, 5. JA-Ile-responsive gene expression is regulated by the transcriptional activator MYC2 that interacts physically with the jasmonate ZIM-domain (JAZ) repressor proteins. On perception of JA-Ile, JAZ proteins are degraded and JA-Ile-dependent gene expression is activated6, 7. The molecular mechanisms by which JAZ proteins repress gene expression remain unknown. Here we show that the Arabidopsis JAZ proteins recruit the Groucho/Tup1-type co-repressor TOPLESS (TPL)8 and TPL-related proteins (TPRs) through a previously uncharacterized adaptor protein, designated Novel Interactor of JAZ (NINJA). NINJA acts as a transcriptional repressor whose activity is mediated by a functional TPL-binding EAR repression motif. Accordingly, both NINJA and TPL proteins function as negative regulators of jasmonate responses. Our results point to TPL proteins as general co-repressors that affect multiple signalling pathways through the interaction with specific adaptor proteins. This new insight reveals how stress-related and growth-related signalling cascades use common molecular mechanisms to regulate gene expression in plants.


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