An Arabidopsis NAC transcription factor NAC4 promotes pathogen-induced cell death under negative regulation by microRNA164

Myoung Hoon Lee, Hwi Seong Jeon, Hye Gi Kim, Ohkmae K. Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


Hypersensitive response (HR) is a form of programmed cell death (PCD) and the primary immune response that prevents pathogen invasion in plants. Here, we show that a microRNAmiR164 and its target gene NAC4 (At5g07680), encoding a NAC transcription factor, play essential roles in the regulation of HR PCD in Arabidopsis thaliana. Cell death symptoms were noticeably enhanced in NAC4-overexpressing (35S:NAC4) and mir164 mutant plants in response to avirulent bacterial pathogens. NAC4 expression was induced by pathogen infection and negatively regulated by miR164 expression. NAC4-binding DNA sequences were determined by in vitro binding site selection using random oligonucleotide sequences. Microarray, chromatin immunoprecipitation and quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analyses, followed by cell death assays in protoplasts, led to the identification of NAC4 target genes LURP1, WRKY40 and WRKY54, which act as negative regulators of cell death. Our results suggest that NAC4 promotes hypersensitive cell death by suppressing its target genes and this immune process is fine-tuned by the negative action of miR164.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-360
Number of pages18
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Apr 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Dr Elliot Meyerowitz for mir164a-4, mir164b-1 and mir164c-2 seeds, Dr Hongwei Guo for mir164abc seeds, Dr Mathilde Fagard for wrky54-2 seeds, and Dr Giltsu Choi for pifQ and phyB seeds. This work was supported by a Korea University grant, the Next-Generation BioGreen 21 Programs (SSAC, PJ01120901; Plant Molecular Breeding Center, PJ01121001) through the Rural Development Administration, and a National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (MSIP) (2013R1A2A2A01067151).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2016 New Phytologist Trust

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Arabidopsis
  • NAC4
  • hypersensitive cell death
  • immunity
  • microRNA164
  • transcriptional regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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