Biochemical characterization of the tomato phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C (PI-PLC) family and its role in plant immunity

Ahmed Abd-El-Haliem, J.H. Vossen, Arjan van Zeijl, Sara Dezhsetan, Christa Testerink, M.F. Seidl, Martina Beck, James Strutt, Silke Robatzek, M.H.A.J. Joosten*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Plants possess effective mechanisms to quickly respond to biotic and abiotic stresses. The rapid activation of phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C (PLC) enzymes occurs early after the stimulation of plant immune-receptors. Genomes of different plant species encode multiple PLC homologs belonging to one class, PLCζ. Here we determined whether all tomato homologs encode active enzymes and whether they can generate signals that are distinct from one another. We searched the recently completed tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) genome sequence and identified a total of seven PLCs. Recombinant proteins were produced for all tomato PLCs, except for SlPLC7. The purified proteins showed typical PLC activity, as different PLC substrates were hydrolysed to produce diacylglycerol. We studied SlPLC2, SlPLC4 and SlPLC5 enzymes in more detail and observed distinct requirements for Ca2+ ions and pH, for both their optimum activity and substrate preference. This indicates that each enzyme could be differentially and specifically regulated in vivo, leading to the generation of PLC homolog-specific signals in response to different stimuli. PLC overexpression and specific inhibition of PLC activity revealed that PLC is required for both specific effector- and more general "pattern"-triggered immunity. For the latter, we found that both the flagellin-triggered response and the internalization of the corresponding receptor, Flagellin Sensing 2 (FLS2) of Arabidopsis thaliana, are suppressed by inhibition of PLC activity. Altogether, our data support an important role for PLC enzymes in plant defence signalling downstream of immune receptors.This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Plant Lipid Biology edited by Kent D. Chapman and Ivo Feussner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1365-1378
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta. Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids
Issue number9 Part B
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Defence response
  • Immune receptors
  • Phospholipids
  • PLC enzymes
  • Signal transduction


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