MAPK cascades in plant defense signaling

Trends Plant Sci. 2001 Nov;6(11):520-7. doi: 10.1016/s1360-1385(01)02103-3.


The Arabidopsis genome encodes approximately 20 different mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) that are likely to be involved in growth, development and responses to endogenous and environmental cues. Several plant MAPKs are activated by a variety of stress stimuli, including pathogen infection, wounding, temperature, drought, salinity, osmolarity, UV irradiation, ozone and reactive oxygen species. Recent gain-of-function studies show that two tobacco MAPKs induce the expression of defense genes and cause cell death. By contrast, loss-of-function studies of other MAPK pathways revealed negative regulation of disease resistance. This 'push-and-pull' regulation by different MAPK pathways might provide a more precise control of plant defense responses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / classification
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Plant Diseases
  • Plants / metabolism*


  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases