Regulatory proteins play critical roles in controlling the kinetics of various cellular processes during the entire life span of an organism. Leaf senescence, an integral part of the plant developmental program, is fine-tuned by a complex transcriptional regulatory network ensuring a successful switch to the terminal life phase. To expand our understanding on how transcriptional control coordinates leaf senescence, we characterized AtWRKY70, a gene encoding a WRKY transcription factor that functions as a negative regulator of developmental senescence. To gain insight into the interplay of senescence and plant defense signaling pathways, we employed a collection of mutants, allowing us to specifically define the role of AtWRKY70 in the salicylic acid-mediated signaling cascades and to further dissect the cross-talk of signal transduction pathways during the onset of senescence in Arabidopsis thaliana. Our results provide strong evidence that AtWRKY70 influences plant senescence and defense signaling pathways. These studies could form the basis for further unraveling of these two complex interlinked regulatory networks. © 2007 Springer-Verlag.