Metabolome Dynamics of Smutted Sugarcane Reveals Mechanisms Involved in Disease Progression and Whip Emission

  • Schaker P
  • Peters L
  • Cataldi T
  • et al.
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© 2017 Schaker, Peters, Cataldi, Labate, Caldana and Monteiro-Vitorello. Sugarcane smut disease, caused by the biotrophic fungus Sporisorium scitamineum, is characterized by the development of a whip-like structure from the plant meristem. The disease causes negative effects on sucrose accumulation, fiber content and juice quality. The aim of this study was to exam whether the transcriptomic changes already described during the infection of sugarcane by S. scitamineum result in changes at the metabolomic level. To address this question, an analysis was conducted during the initial stage of the interaction and through disease progression in a susceptible sugarcane genotype. GC-TOF-MS allowed the identification of 73 primary metabolites. A set of these compounds was quantitatively altered at each analyzed point as compared with healthy plants. The results revealed that energetic pathways and amino acid pools were affected throughout the interaction. Raffinose levels increased shortly after infection but decreased remarkably after whip emission. Changes related to cell wall biosynthesis were characteristic of disease progression and suggested a loosening of its structure to allow whip growth. Lignin biosynthesis related to whip formation may rely on Tyr metabolism through the overexpression of a bifunctional PTAL. The altered levels of Met residues along with overexpression of SAM synthetase and ACC synthase genes suggested a role for ethylene in whip emission. Moreover, unique secondary metabolites antifungal-related were identified using LC-ESI-MS approach, which may have potential biomarker applications. Lastly, a putative toxin was the most important fungal metabolite identified whose role during infection remains to be established.




Schaker, P. D. C., Peters, L. P., Cataldi, T. R., Labate, C. A., Caldana, C., & Monteiro-Vitorello, C. B. (2017). Metabolome Dynamics of Smutted Sugarcane Reveals Mechanisms Involved in Disease Progression and Whip Emission. Frontiers in Plant Science, 8.

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