PIF4 Coordinates Thermosensory Growth and Immunity in Arabidopsis.
Temperature is a key seasonal signal that shapes plant growth. Elevated ambient temperature accelerates growth and developmental transitions, while compromising plant defenses leading to increased susceptibility. Suppression of immunity at elevated temperature is at the interface of trade-off between growth and defense. Climate change and the increase in average growth season temperatures threaten biodiversity and food security. Despite its significance, the molecular mechanisms that link thermosensory growth and defense responses are not known. Here we show that PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTOR4 (PIF4)-mediated thermosensory growth and architecture adaptations are directly linked to suppression of immunity at elevated temperature. PIF4 positively regulates growth and development and negatively regulates immunity. We also show that natural variation of PIF4-mediated temperature response underlies variation in the balance between growth and defense among Arabidopsis natural strains. Importantly we find that modulation of PIF4 function alters temperature sensitivity of defense. Perturbation of PIF4-mediated growth has resulted in temperature resilient disease resistance. This study reveals a molecular link between thermosensory growth and immunity in plants. Elucidation of the molecular mechanisms that define environmental signal integration is key to develop novel strategies for breeding temperature-resilient disease resistance in crops.