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Salicylic acid (SA) is a plant defense signal that mediates local and systemic immune responses against pathogen invasion. However, the underlying mechanism of SA-mediated defense is very complex due to the involvement of various positive and negative regulators to fine-tune its signaling in diverse pathosystems. Upon pathogen infections, elevated level of SA promotes massive transcriptional reprogramming in which Non-expresser of PR genes 1 (NPR1) acts as a central hub and transcriptional coactivator in defense responses. Recent findings show that Enhanced Disease Susceptibility 1 (EDS1) also functions as a transcriptional coactivator and stimulates the expression of PR1 in the presence of NPR1 and SA. Furthermore, EDS1 stabilizes NPR1 protein level, while NPR1 sustains EDS1 expression during pathogenic infection. The interaction of NPR1 and EDS1 coactivators initiates transcriptional reprogramming by recruiting cyclin-dependent kinase 8 in the Mediator complex to control immune responses. In this review, we highlight the recent breakthroughs that considerably advance our understanding on how transcriptional coactivators interact with their functional partners to trigger distinct pathways to facilitate immune responses, and how SA accumulation induces dynamic changes in NPR1 structure for transcriptional reprogramming. In addition, the functions of different Mediator subunits in SA-mediated plant immunity are also discussed in light of recent discoveries. Taken together, the available evidence suggests that transcriptional coactivators are essential and potent regulators of plant defense pathways and play crucial roles in coordinating plant immune responses during plant–pathogen interactions.

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© 2022 Khan, Islam, Chen, Chang, Wang, Liu, Fu and Chen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

APA Citation

Khan, M. S., Islam, F., Chen, H., Chang, M., Wang, D., Liu, F., Fu, Z. Q., & Chen, J. (2022). Transcriptional coactivators: Driving force of Plant Immunity. Frontiers in Plant Science, 13.

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