Ethylene-mediated nitric oxide depletion pre-adapts plants to hypoxia stress

Sjon Hartman, Zeguang Liu, Hans van Veen, Jorge Vicente, Emilie Reinen, Shanice Martopawiro, Hongtao Zhang, Nienke van Dongen, Femke Bosman, George W Bassel, Eric J W Visser, Julia Bailey-Serres, Frederica L Theodoulou, Kim H Hebelstrup, Daniel J Gibbs, Michael J Holdsworth, Rashmi Sasidharan, Laurentius A C J Voesenek

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49 Citations (Scopus)
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Timely perception of adverse environmental changes is critical for survival. Dynamic changes in gases are important cues for plants to sense environmental perturbations, such as submergence. In Arabidopsis thaliana, changes in oxygen and nitric oxide (NO) control the stability of ERFVII transcription factors. ERFVII proteolysis is regulated by the N-degron pathway and mediates adaptation to flooding-induced hypoxia. However, how plants detect and transduce early submergence signals remains elusive. Here we show that plants can rapidly detect submergence through passive ethylene entrapment and use this signal to pre-adapt to impending hypoxia. Ethylene can enhance ERFVII stability prior to hypoxia by increasing the NO-scavenger PHYTOGLOBIN1. This ethylene-mediated NO depletion and consequent ERFVII accumulation pre-adapts plants to survive subsequent hypoxia. Our results reveal the biological link between three gaseous signals for the regulation of flooding survival and identifies key regulatory targets for early stress perception that could be pivotal for developing flood-tolerant crops.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4020
Number of pages9
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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