Molecular plant

Paradigms and paradox in the ethylene signaling pathway and interaction network.

PMID 21690206


Phytohormone ethylene plays pivotal roles in plant response to developmental and environmental signals. During the past few years, the emerging evidence has led us to a new understanding of the signaling mechanisms and regulatory networks of the ethylene action. In this review, we focus on the major advances made in the past three years, particularly the findings leading to new paradigms and the observations under debate. With the recent demonstration of the regulation of the protein stability of numerous key signaling components including EIN3, EIL1, EIN2, ETR2, EBF1/EBF2, and ETP1/ETP2, we highlight proteasome-dependent protein degradation as an essential regulatory mechanism that is widely adopted in the ethylene signaling pathway. We also discuss the implication of the negative feedback mechanism in the ethylene signaling pathway in light of ethylene-induced ETR2 and EBF2 gene expression. Meanwhile, we summarize the controversy on the involvement of MKK9-MPK3/6 cascade in the ethylene signaling versus biosynthesis pathway, and discuss the possible role of this MAPK module in the ethylene action. Finally, we describe the complex interactions between ethylene and other signaling pathways including auxin, light, and plant innate immunity, and propose that EIN3/EIL1 act as a convergence point in the ethylene-initiated signaling network.