A MYC-dependent transcription factor network regulates water spray-responsive gene expression and jasmonate levels ($) (PNAS)

Plants perceive and respond to touch and other physical contact including wounding. Van Moerkercke et al. explored the network of rapid gene responses to a gentle water spray, simulating rainfall. Many of these mecho-induced genes are also responsive to jasmonate, the hormone involved in response to herbivory. A high proportion encode transcription factors (TFs), including a core MYC2/MYC3/MYC4 regulon that is both responsive to jasmonate and also promotes its production in a positive feedback cycle. With tongue in cheek, co-author Harvey Millar reports,  “they panic… it seems plants have a fear of rain.” The authors also observe, “this JA- and MYC2/MYC3/MYC4-dependent TF network does not seem to modulate other classic touch marker genes, such as TCH3 and TCH4, meaning that additional touch-induced signaling pathways await discovery.” (Summary by Mary Williams)  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci USA 10.1073/pnas.1911758116