Brassinosteroids Antagonize Jasmonate-Activated Plant Defense Responses through BRI1-EMS-SUPPRESSOR1 (BES1)

Brassinosteroids (BRs) and jasmonates (JAs) regulate plant growth, development, and defense responses, but how these phytohormones mediate the growth-defense tradeoff is unclear. Here, we identified the Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) dwarf at early stages1 (dwe1) mutant, which exhibits enhanced expression of defensin genes PLANT DEFENSIN1.2a (PDF1.2a) and PDF1.2b. The dwe1 mutant showed increased resistance to herbivory by beet armyworms (Spodoptera exigua) and infection by botrytis (Botrytis cinerea). DWE1 encodes ROTUNDIFOLIA3, a cytochrome P450 protein essential for BR biosynthesis. The JA-inducible transcription of PDF1.2a and PDF1.2b was significantly reduced in the BRASSINOSTEROID INSENSITIVE1-ETHYL METHANESULFONATE-SUPPRESSOR1 (BES1) gain-of-function mutant bes1- D, which was highly susceptible to S. exigua and B. cinerea. BES1 directly targeted the terminator regions of PDF1.2a/PDF1.2b and suppressed their expression. PDF1.2a overexpression diminished the enhanced susceptibility of bes1- D to B. cinerea but did not improve resistance of bes1- D to S. exigua. In response to S. exigua herbivory, BES1 inhibited biosynthesis of the JA-induced insect defense-related metabolite indolic glucosinolate by interacting with transcription factors MYB DOMAIN PROTEIN34 (MYB34), MYB51, and MYB122 and suppressing expression of genes encoding CYTOCHROME P450 FAMILY79 SUBFAMILY B POLYPEPTIDE3 (CYP79B3) and UDP-GLUCOSYL TRANSFERASE 74B1 (UGT74B1). Thus, BR contributes to the growth-defense tradeoff by suppressing expression of defensin and glucosinolate biosynthesis genes.

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