ETHYLENE RESPONSE FACTOR 74 (ERF74) plays an essential role in controlling a respiratory burst oxidase homolog D (RbohD)-dependent mechanism in response to different stresses in Arabidopsis
Recent studies indicate that the ETHYLENE RESPONSE FACTOR VII (ERF-VII) transcription factor is an important regulator of osmotic and hypoxic stress responses in plants. However, the molecular mechanism of ERF-VII-mediated transcriptional regulation remains unclear. Here, we investigated the role of ERF74 (a member of the ERF-VII protein family) by examining the abiotic stress tolerance of an ERF74 overexpression line and a T-DNA insertion mutant using flow cytometry, transactivation and electrophoretic mobility shift assays. 35S::ERF74 showed enhanced tolerance to drought, high light, heat and aluminum stresses, whereas the T-DNA insertion mutant erf74 and the erf74;erf75 double mutant displayed higher sensitivity. Using flow cytometry analysis, we found that erf74 and erf74;erf75 lines lack the reactive oxygen species (ROS) burst in the early stages of various stresses, as a result of the lower expression level of RESPIRATORY BURST OXIDASE HOMOLOG D (RbohD). Furthermore, ERF74 directly binds to the promoter of RbohD and activates its expression under different abiotic stresses. Moreover, induction of stress marker genes and ROS-scavenging enzyme genes under various stress conditions is dependent on the ERF74-RbohD-ROS signal pathway. We propose a pathway that involves ERF74 acting as an on-off switch controlling an RbohD-dependent mechanism in response to different stresses, subsequently maintaining hydrogen peroxide (H2 O2 ) homeostasis in Arabidopsis.