Ozone-induced ethylene production is dependent on salicylic acid, and both salicylic acid and ethylene act in concert to regulate ozone-induced cell death

Plant J. 2002 Nov;32(4):447-56. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.2002.01434.x.


Ethylene is known to influence plant defense responses including cell death in response to both biotic and abiotic stress factors. However, whether ethylene acts alone or in conjunction with other signaling pathways is not clearly understood. Ethylene overproducer mutants, eto1 and eto3, produced high levels of ethylene and developed necrotic lesions in response to an acute O3 exposure that does not induce lesions in O3-tolerant wild-type Col-0 plants. Treatment of plants with ethylene inhibitors completely blocked O3-induced ethylene production and partially attenuated O3-induced cell death. Analyses of the responses of molecular markers of specific signaling pathways indicated a relationship between salicylic acid (SA)- and ethylene-signaling pathways and O3 sensitivity. Both eto1 and eto3 plants constitutively accumulated threefold higher levels of total SA and exhibited a rapid increase in free SA and ethylene levels prior to lesion formation in response to O3 exposure. SA pre-treatments increased O3 sensitivity of Col-0, suggesting that constitutive high SA levels prime leaf tissue to exhibit increased magnitude of O3-induced cell death. NahG and npr1 plants compromised in SA signaling failed to produce ethylene in response to O3 and other stress factors suggesting that SA is required for stress-induced ethylene production. Furthermore, NahG expression in the dominant eto3 mutant attenuated ethylene-dependent PR4 expression and rescued the O3-induced HR (hypersensitive response) cell death phenotype exhibited by eto3 plants. Our results suggest that both SA and ethylene act in concert to influence cell death in O3-sensitive genotypes, and that O3-induced ethylene production is dependent on SA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / cytology
  • Arabidopsis / drug effects*
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Death / drug effects
  • Disasters
  • Ethylenes / biosynthesis*
  • Ethylenes / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / drug effects
  • Genes, Plant / genetics
  • Genotype
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Ozone / pharmacology*
  • Paraquat
  • Plant Growth Regulators / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Plant Growth Regulators / biosynthesis
  • Plant Growth Regulators / pharmacology
  • RNA, Plant / genetics
  • RNA, Plant / metabolism
  • Salicylic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Time Factors


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Ethylenes
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • RNA, Plant
  • Ozone
  • ethylene
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Paraquat