MYC2: the master in action

Mol Plant. 2013 May;6(3):686-703. doi: 10.1093/mp/sss128. Epub 2012 Nov 9.


Jasmonates (JAs) are plant hormones with essential roles in plant defense and development. The basic-helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor (TF) MYC2 has recently emerged as a master regulator of most aspects of the jasmonate (JA) signaling pathway in Arabidopsis. MYC2 coordinates JA-mediated defense responses by antagonistically regulating two different branches of the JA signaling pathway that determine resistance to pests and pathogens, respectively. MYC2 is required for induced systemic resistance (ISR) triggered by beneficial soil microbes while MYC2 function is targeted by pathogens during effector-mediated suppression of innate immunity in roots. Another notable function of MYC2 is the regulation of crosstalk between the signaling pathways of JA and those of other phytohormones such as abscisic acid (ABA), salicylic acid (SA), gibberellins (GAs), and auxin (IAA). MYC2 also regulates interactions between JA signaling and light, phytochrome signaling, and the circadian clock. MYC2 is involved in JA-regulated plant development, lateral and adventitious root formation, flowering time, and shade avoidance syndrome. Related bHLH TFs MYC3 and MYC4 also regulate both overlapping and distinct MYC2-regulated functions in Arabidopsis while MYC2 orthologs act as 'master switches' that regulate JA-mediated biosynthesis of secondary metabolites. Here, we briefly review recent studies that revealed mechanistic new insights into the mode of action of this versatile TF.

Keywords: ABA; DELLAs; JAZ proteins; MED25; MYC2; Pseudomonas syringae; auxin; gibberellin; hormonal crosstalk; jasmonate; light signaling; phytochrome; plant defense; salicylic acid.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cyclopentanes / metabolism
  • Herbivory / physiology
  • Oxylipins / metabolism
  • Plant Immunity / immunology
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Interaction Maps
  • Signal Transduction


  • Cyclopentanes
  • Oxylipins
  • Plant Proteins
  • jasmonic acid