Maintenance of metabolic homeostasis and induction of cytoprotectants and secondary metabolites in alachlor-treated GmGSTU4-overexpressing tobacco plants, as resolved by metabolomics

Christos Kissoudis, Chrysanthi Kalloniati, Emmanouil Flemetakis, Panagiotis Madesis, N.E. Labrou, Athanasios Tsaftaris, Irini Nianiou-Obeidat*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Herbicides are an invaluable tool for agricultural production scaling up. However, their continuous and intensive use has led to an increased incidence of herbicide resistant weeds and environmental pollution. Plant glutathione transferases (GSTs) are tightly connected with crop and weed herbicide tolerance capacitating their efficient metabolic detoxification, thus GSTs can be biotechnologically exploited towards addressing those issues. However, information on their effects at a “systems” level in response to herbicides is lacking. Here, we aimed to study the effects of the chloroacetanilide herbicide alachlor on the metabolome of wild-type and tobacco plants overexpressing the soybean tau class glutathione transferase GmGSTU4. Alachlor-treated wild-type plants This system, naturally serving the detoxification of endogenous exhibited an abiotic stress-like response with increased abundance of compatible solutes, decrease in TCA cycle intermediates and decreased sugar and amino acid content. Transgenic plants responded distinctly, exhibiting an increased induction of abiotic stress responsive metabolites, accumulation of secondary metabolites and its precursors, and metabolic detoxification by-products compared to wild-type plants. These results suggest that the increased metabolic capacity of GmGSTU4 overexpressing plants is accompanied by pleiotropic metabolic alterations, which could be the target for further manipulation in order to develop herbicide resistant crops, plants with increased phytoremediation potential, as well as efficient management of non-target site, GST induced, herbicide resistance in weeds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-296
JournalPlant Biotechnology Reports
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015



  • Abiotic stress
  • Glutathione
  • Herbicide resistance
  • Non-target site resistance
  • Phytoremediation
  • Secondary metabolism

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