Leaf senescence is a key physiological process in all plants. Its onset is tightly controlled by transcription factors, of which NAC factor ORE1 (ANAC092) is crucial in Arabidopsis thaliana. Enhanced expression of ORE1 triggers early senescence by controlling a downstream gene network that includes various senescence-associated genes. Here, we report that unexpectedly ORE1 interacts with the G2-like transcription factors GLK1 and GLK2, which are important for chloroplast development and maintenance, and thereby for leaf maintenance. ORE1 antagonizes GLK transcriptional activity, shifting the balance from chloroplast maintenance towards deterioration. Our finding identifies a new mechanism important for the control of senescence by ORE1. © 2013 European Molecular Biology Organization.