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The Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) MKK1 and MKK2 mitogen-activated protein kinase kinases have been implicated in biotic and abiotic stress responses as part of a signaling cascade including MEKK1 and MPK4. Here, the double loss-of-function mutant (mkk1/2) of MKK1 and MKK2 is shown to have marked phenotypes in development and disease resistance similar to those of the single mekk1 and mpk4 mutants. Because mkk1 or mkk2 single mutants appear wild type, basal levels of MPK4 activity are not impaired in them, and MKK1 and MKK2 are in part functionally redundant in unchallenged plants. These findings are confirmed and extended by biochemical and molecular analyses implicating the kinases in jasmonate- and salicylate-dependent defense responses, mediated in part via the MPK4 substrate MKS1. In addition, transcriptome analyses delineate overlapping and specific effects of the kinases on global gene expression patterns demonstrating both redundant and unique functions for MKK1 and MKK2.
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