Structural basis of NPR1 in activating plant immunity.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Nature, Volume 605, Issue 7910, p.561-566 (2022)


Arabidopsis, Arabidopsis Proteins, Basic-Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors, Cryoelectron Microscopy, Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Expression Regulation, Plant, Plant Immunity, Plant Proteins, Salicylic Acid, Transcription Factors


<p>NPR1 is a master regulator of the defence transcriptome induced by the plant immune signal salicylic acid. Despite the important role of NPR1 in plant immunity, understanding of its regulatory mechanisms has been hindered by a lack of structural information. Here we report cryo-electron microscopy and crystal structures of Arabidopsis NPR1 and its complex with the transcription factor TGA3. Cryo-electron microscopy analysis reveals that NPR1 is a bird-shaped homodimer comprising a central Broad-complex, Tramtrack and Bric-à-brac (BTB) domain, a BTB and carboxyterminal Kelch helix bundle, four ankyrin repeats and a disordered salicylic-acid-binding domain. Crystal structure analysis reveals a unique zinc-finger motif in BTB for interacting with ankyrin repeats and mediating NPR1 oligomerization. We found that, after stimulation, salicylic-acid-induced folding and docking of the salicylic-acid-binding domain onto ankyrin repeats is required for the transcriptional cofactor activity of NPR1, providing a structural explanation for a direct role of salicylic acid in regulating NPR1-dependent gene expression. Moreover, our structure of the TGA3-NPR1-TGA3 complex, DNA-binding assay and genetic data show that dimeric NPR1 activates transcription by bridging two fatty-acid-bound TGA3 dimers to form an enhanceosome. The stepwise assembly of the NPR1-TGA complex suggests possible hetero-oligomeric complex formation with other transcription factors, revealing how NPR1 reprograms the defence transcriptome.</p>

The cryo-EM structures of the apo NPR1, NPR12–TGA32 and TGA32–NPR12–TGA32, and X-ray crystal structures of the NPR1(ΔSBD) and TGA3 NID have been deposited at the PDB ( under accession codes 7MK2, 7TAD, 7TAC, 7MK3 and 7TAE, respectively.
Crystal structure of NPR1