1. Ecology
  2. Plant Biology
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The decoration of specialized metabolites influences stylar development

  1. Jiancai Li
  2. Meredith C Schuman
  3. Rayko Halitschke
  4. Xiang Li
  5. Han Guo
  6. Veit Grabe
  7. Austin Hammer
  8. Ian T Baldwin  Is a corresponding author
  1. Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Germany
  2. Brigham Young University, United States
Research Article
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Cite this article as: eLife 2018;7:e38611 doi: 10.7554/eLife.38611

Abstract

Plants produce many different specialized (secondary) metabolites that function in solving ecological challenges; few are known to function in growth or other primary processes. 17-hydroxygeranylinalool diterpene glycosides (DTGs) are abundant herbivory-induced, structurally diverse and commonly malonylated defense metabolites in Nicotiana attenuata plants. By identifying and silencing a malonyltransferase, NaMaT1, involved in DTG malonylation, we found that DTG malonylation percentages are normally remarkably uniform, but when disrupted, result in DTG-dependent reduced floral style lengths, which in turn result from reduced stylar cell sizes, IAA contents, and YUC activity; phenotypes that could be restored by IAA supplementation or by silencing the DTG pathway. Moreover, the Nicotiana genus-specific JA-deficient short-style phenotype also results from alterations in DTG malonylation patterns. Decorations of plant specialized metabolites can be tuned to remarkably uniform levels, and this regulation plays a central but poorly understood role in controlling the development of specific plant parts, such as floral styles.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Jiancai Li

    Department of Molecular Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-4417-7612
  2. Meredith C Schuman

    Department of Molecular Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-3159-3534
  3. Rayko Halitschke

    Department of Molecular Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-1109-8782
  4. Xiang Li

    Department of Molecular Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  5. Han Guo

    Department of Molecular Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  6. Veit Grabe

    Department of Evolutionary Neuroethology, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-0736-2771
  7. Austin Hammer

    Department of Biology, Brigham Young University, Provo, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  8. Ian T Baldwin

    Department of Molecular Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany
    For correspondence
    baldwin@ice.mpg.de
    Competing interests
    Ian T Baldwin, Senior editor, eLife.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-5371-2974

Funding

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (Open-access funding)

  • Ian T Baldwin

H2020 European Research Council (293926)

  • Ian T Baldwin

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Joerg Bohlmann, University of British Columbia, Canada

Publication history

  1. Received: May 24, 2018
  2. Accepted: September 23, 2018
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: October 5, 2018 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: October 17, 2018 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2018, Li et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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