The Ubiquitin-proteasome System as a Regulator of Plant Immunity

Eleanor H G Adams, Steven H Spoel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) has been shown to play vital roles in diverse plant developmental and stress responses. The UPS post-translationally modifies cellular proteins with the small molecule ubiquitin, resulting in their regulated degradation by the proteasome. Of particular importance is the role of the UPS in regulating hormone-responsive gene expression profiles, including those triggered by the immune hormone salicylic acid (SA). SA utilises components of the UPS pathway to reprogram the transcriptome for establishment of local and systemic immunity. Emerging evidence has shown that SA induces the activity of Cullin-RING ligases (CRLs) that fuse chains of ubiquitin to downstream transcriptional regulators and consequently target them for degradation by the proteasome. Here we review how CRL-mediated degradation of transcriptional regulators may control SA-responsive immune gene expression programmes and discuss how the UPS can be modulated by both endogenous and foreign exogenous signals. The highlighted research findings paint a clear picture of the UPS as a central hub for immune activation as well as a battle ground for hijacking by pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Early online date5 Jun 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Jun 2018


  • Ubiquitin proteasome system
  • Cullin-RING
  • NPR1;
  • WRKY transcription factors
  • salicylic acid
  • plant immunity


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