Beyond toxicity: A regulatory role for mitochondrial cyanide

  • García I
  • Gotor C
  • Romero L
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In non-cyanogenic plants, cyanide is a co-product of ethylene and camalexin biosynthesis. To maintain cyanide at non-toxic levels, Arabidopsis plants express the mitochondrial β-cyanoalanine synthase CYS-C1. CYS-C1 knockout leads to an increased level of cyanide in the roots and leaves and a severe defect in root hair morphogenesis, suggesting that cyanide acts as a signaling factor in root development. During compatible and incompatible plant-bacteria interactions, cyanide accumulation and CYS-C1 gene expression are negatively correlated. Moreover, CYS-C1 mutation increases both plant tolerance to biotrophic pathogens and their susceptibility to necrotrophic fungi, indicating that cyanide could stimulate the salicylic acid-dependent signaling pathway of the plant immune system. We hypothesize that CYS-C1 is essential for maintaining non-toxic concentrations of cyanide in the mitochondria to facilitate cyanide’s role in signaling.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Cell signaling
  • Cyanide
  • Mitochondria
  • Plant immune response
  • Root hair
  • β-cyanoalanine synthase

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