Sci Adv 8 (20) eabm2091 [2022-05-20; online 2022-05-20]
Plants respond to mechanical stimuli to direct their growth and counteract environmental threats. Mechanical stimulation triggers rapid gene expression changes and affects plant appearance (thigmomorphogenesis) and flowering. Previous studies reported the importance of jasmonic acid (JA) in touch signaling. Here, we used reverse genetics to further characterize the molecular mechanisms underlying touch signaling. We show that Piezo mechanosensitive ion channels have no major role in touch-induced gene expression and thigmomorphogenesis. In contrast, the receptor-like kinase Feronia acts as a strong negative regulator of the JA-dependent branch of touch signaling. Last, we show that calmodulin-binding transcriptional activators CAMTA1/2/3 are key regulators of JA-independent touch signaling. CAMTA1/2/3 cooperate to directly bind the promoters and activate gene expression of JA-independent touch marker genes like TCH2 and TCH4. In agreement, camta3 mutants show a near complete loss of thigmomorphogenesis and touch-induced delay of flowering. In conclusion, we have now identified key regulators of two independent touch-signaling pathways.