Plant defense against microbial pathogens depends on the action of several endogenously produced hormones, including jasmonic acid (JA) and ethylene (ET). In defense against necrotrophic pathogens, the JA and ET signaling pathways synergize to activate a specific set of defense genes including PLANT DEFENSIN1.2 (PDF1.2). The APETALA2/Ethylene Response Factor (AP2/ERF)-domain transcription factor ORA59 acts as the integrator of the JA and ET signaling pathways and is the key regulator of JA- and ET-responsive PDF1.2 expression. The present study was aimed at the identification of elements in the PDF1.2 promoter conferring the synergistic response to JA/ET and interacting with ORA59. We show that the PDF1.2 promoter was activated synergistically by JA and the ET-releasing agent ethephon due to the activity of two GCC boxes. ORA59 bound in vitro to these GCC boxes and trans-activated the PDF1.2 promoter in transient assays via these two boxes. Using the chromatin immunoprecipitation technique we were able to show that ORA59 bound the PDF1.2 promoter in vivo. Finally, we show that a tetramer of a single GCC box conferred JA/ethephon-responsive expression, demonstrating that the JA and ET signaling pathways converge to a single type of GCC box. Therefore ORA59 and two functionally equivalent GCC box binding sites form the module that enables the PDF1.2 gene to respond synergistically to simultaneous activation of the JA and ET signaling pathways. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11103-010-9728-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.