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.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files
- Ian T Baldwin
- Ian T Baldwin
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Joerg Bohlmann, University of British Columbia, Canada
© 2018, Li et al.
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