Systemic acquired resistance (SAR) is a long-lasting plant immunity against a broad spectrum of pathogens. Biological induction of SAR requires the signal molecule salicylic acid (SA) and involves profound transcriptional changes that are largely controlled by the transcription coactivator NONEXPRESSOR OF PATHOGENESIS-RELATED GENES1 (NPR1). However, it is unclear how SAR signals are transduced from the NPR1 signaling node to the general transcription machinery. Here, we report that the Arabidopsis thaliana Mediator subunit16 (MED16) is an essential positive regulator of SAR. Mutations in MED16 reduced NPR1 protein levels and completely compromised biological induction of SAR. These mutations also significantly suppressed SA-induced defense responses, altered the transcriptional changes induced by the avirulent bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato (Pst) DC3000/avrRpt2, and rendered plants susceptible to both Pst DC3000/avrRpt2 and Pst DC3000. In addition, mutations in MED16 blocked the induction of several jasmonic acid (JA)/ethylene (ET)–responsive genes and compromised resistance to the necrotrophic fungal pathogens Botrytis cinerea and Alternaria brassicicola. The Mediator complex acts as a bridge between specific transcriptional activators and the RNA polymerase II transcription machinery; therefore, our data suggest that MED16 may be a signaling component in the gap between the NPR1 signaling node and the general transcription machinery and may relay signals from both the SA and the JA/ET pathways.