Ethylene response factors and their role in plant defence

R. Núñez-Pastrana, Jonathan Anderson, Karam Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

3 Citations (Scopus)


The APETALA2/Ethylene response factor (AP2/ERF) family of transcription factors (TFs) plays crucial roles in the regulation of gene expression during plant development and in response to biotic and abiotic stress. Although AP2/ERFs have been implicated in a range of plant stress responses, this review focuses on ERFs in the context of the plant response to other organisms, primarily not only pathogenic but also symbiotic. The ERF subfamily is particularly important in the establishment and the tight regulation of plant defences through a balance of positive and negative transcriptional regulation. The expression of the ERFs is induced by pathogens with different lifestyles and they have been implicated in resistance to biotrophs, necrotrophs and hemibiotrophs, but members also play important roles in other plant-microbe interactions, for example, nodule formation in legumes. ERFs achieve this, in part, by acting as integrators in the crosstalk between signalling pathways mediated by ethylene (ET), jasmonic acid, salicylic acid and other plant hormones to modulate gene expression according to the stimuli sensed. This review collates recent findings on the regulation of this family of TFs, including transcriptional and posttranslational regulation. Although DNA binding is typically conferred through the characteristic AP2 domain, the function of other domains including the EDLL and ERF-associated amphiphilic repression (EAR) domains in regulating gene expression is discussed. Finally, the potential for ERFs to be used to enhance resistance to pathogens in crops is considered. © CAB International 2013.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12
JournalCAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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