The Arabidopsis bHLH transcription factors MYC3 and MYC4 are targets of JAZ repressors and act additively with MYC2 in the activation of jasmonate responses

Plant Cell. 2011 Feb;23(2):701-15. doi: 10.1105/tpc.110.080788. Epub 2011 Feb 18.


Jasmonates (JAs) trigger an important transcriptional reprogramming of plant cells to modulate both basal development and stress responses. In spite of the importance of transcriptional regulation, only one transcription factor (TF), the Arabidopsis thaliana basic helix-loop-helix MYC2, has been described so far as a direct target of JAZ repressors. By means of yeast two-hybrid screening and tandem affinity purification strategies, we identified two previously unknown targets of JAZ repressors, the TFs MYC3 and MYC4, phylogenetically closely related to MYC2. We show that MYC3 and MYC4 interact in vitro and in vivo with JAZ repressors and also form homo- and heterodimers with MYC2 and among themselves. They both are nuclear proteins that bind DNA with sequence specificity similar to that of MYC2. Loss-of-function mutations in any of these two TFs impair full responsiveness to JA and enhance the JA insensitivity of myc2 mutants. Moreover, the triple mutant myc2 myc3 myc4 is as impaired as coi1-1 in the activation of several, but not all, JA-mediated responses such as the defense against bacterial pathogens and insect herbivory. Our results show that MYC3 and MYC4 are activators of JA-regulated programs that act additively with MYC2 to regulate specifically different subsets of the JA-dependent transcriptional response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Cyclopentanes / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Mutation
  • Oxylipins / metabolism*
  • Phylogeny
  • Plant Roots / growth & development
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Trans-Activators / genetics
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism*
  • Two-Hybrid System Techniques


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors
  • Cyclopentanes
  • MYC2 protein, Arabidopsis
  • MYC3 protein, Arabidopsis
  • MYC4 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Oxylipins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • jasmonic acid