Silencing an N-Acyltransferase-Like Involved in Lignin Biosynthesis in Nicotiana attenuata Dramatically Alters Herbivory-Induced Phenolamide Metabolism

E. Gaquerel, H. Kotkar, N. Onkokesung, I. Galis, I.T. Baldwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In a transcriptomic screen of Manduca sexta-induced N-acyltransferases in leaves of Nicotiana attenuata, we identified an N-acyltransferase gene sharing a high similarity with the tobacco lignin-biosynthetic hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA:shikimate/quinate hydroxycinnamoyl transferase (HCT) gene whose expression is controlled by MYB8, a transcription factor that regulates the production of phenylpropanoid polyamine conjugates (phenolamides, PAs). To evaluate the involvement of this HCT-like gene in lignin production as well as the resulting crosstalk with PA metabolism during insect herbivory, we transiently silenced (by VIGs) the expression of this gene and performed non-targeted (UHPLC-ESI/TOF-MS) metabolomics analyses. In agreement with a conserved function of N. attenuata HCT-like in lignin biogenesis, HCT-silenced plants developed weak, soft stems with greatly reduced lignin contents. Metabolic profiling demonstrated large shifts (up to 12% deregulation in total extracted ions in insect-attacked leaves) due to a large diversion of activated coumaric acid units into the production of developmentally and herbivory-induced coumaroyl-containing PAs (N',N''-dicoumaroylspermidine, N',N''-coumaroylputrescine, etc) and to minor increases in the most abundant free phenolics (chlorogenic and cryptochlorogenic acids), all without altering the production of well characterized herbivory-responsive caffeoyl- and feruloyl-based putrescine and spermidine PAs. These data are consistent with a strong metabolic tension, exacerbated during herbivory, over the allocation of coumaroyl-CoA units among lignin and unusual coumaroyl-containing PAs, and rule out a role for HCT-LIKE in tuning the herbivory-induced accumulation of other PAs. Additionally, these results are consistent with a role for lignification as an induced anti-herbivore defense.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere62336
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume8
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • arabidopsis-thaliana
  • jasmonic acid
  • insect herbivores
  • mediated defenses
  • down-regulation
  • pathway
  • tobacco
  • accumulation
  • evolution
  • shikimate

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