Cullin-RING ubiquitin ligases in salicylic acid-mediated plant immune signaling

James J. Furniss, Steven H. Spoel

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review


Plant immune responses against biotrophic pathogens are regulated by the signaling hormone salicylic acid (SA). SA establishes immunity by regulating a variety of cellular processes, including programmed cell death (PCD) to isolate and kill invading pathogens, and development of systemic acquired resistance (SAR) which provides long-lasting, broad-spectrum resistance throughout the plant. Central to these processes is post-translational modification of SA-regulated signaling proteins by ubiquitination, i.e., the covalent addition of small ubiquitin proteins. Emerging evidence indicates SA-induced protein ubiquitination is largely orchestrated by Cullin-RING ligases (CRLs), which recruit specific substrates for ubiquitination using interchangeable adaptors. Ligation of ubiquitin chains interlinked at lysine 48 leads to substrate degradation by the 26S proteasome. Here we discuss how CRL-mediated degradation of both nucleotide-binding/leucine-rich repeat domain containing immune receptors and SA-induced transcription regulators are critical for functional PCD and SAR responses, respectively. By placing these recent findings in context of knowledge gained in other eukaryotic model species, we highlight potential alternative roles for processive ubiquitination in regulating the activity of SA-mediated immune responses.
Original languageEnglish
Article number154
JournalFrontiers in plant science
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


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