Indexed on: 14 Apr '12Published on: 14 Apr '12Published in: Trends in Plant Science
The evolution of land plants approximately 470 million years ago created a new adaptive zone for natural enemies (attackers) of plants. In response to attack, plants evolved highly effective, inducible defense systems. Two plant hormones modulating inducible defenses are salicylic acid (SA) and jasmonic acid (JA). Current thinking is that SA induces resistance against biotrophic pathogens and some phloem feeding insects and JA induces resistance against necrotrophic pathogens, some phloem feeding insects and chewing herbivores. Signaling crosstalk between SA and JA commonly manifests as a reciprocal antagonism and may be adaptive, but this remains speculative. We examine evidence for and against adaptive explanations for antagonistic crosstalk, trace its phylogenetic origins and provide a hypothesis-testing framework for future research on the adaptive significance of SA-JA crosstalk.