Selective and powerful stress gene expression in Arabidopsis in response to malondialdehyde

  • Weber H
  • Chételat A
  • Reymond P
 et al. 
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Abstract

The provenance, half-life and biological activity of malondialdehyde (MDA) were investigated in Arabidopsis thaliana. We provide genetic confirmation of the hypothesis that MDA originates from fatty acids containing more than two methylene-linked double bonds, showing that tri-unsaturated fatty acids are the in vivo source of up to 75% of MDA. The abundance of the combined pool of free and reversibly bound MDA did not change dramatically in stress, although a significant increase in the free MDA pool under oxidative conditions was observed. The half-life of infiltrated MDA indicated rapid metabolic turnover/sequestration. Exposure of plants to low levels of MDA using a recently developed protocol powerfully upregulated many genes on a cDNA microarray with a bias towards those implicated in abiotic/environmental stress (e.g. ROF1 and XERO2). Remarkably, and in contrast to the activities of other reactive electrophile species (i.e. small vinyl ketones), none of the pathogenesis-related (PR) genes tested responded to MDA. The use of structural mimics of MDA isomers suggested that the propensity of the molecule to act as a cross-linking/modifying reagent might contribute to the activation of gene expression. Changes in the concentration/localisation of unbound MDA in vivo could strongly affect stress-related transcription.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Abiotic
  • Aldehyde
  • Electrophile
  • Plant defence
  • Stress
  • α,β- unsaturated carbonyl compounds

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Authors

  • Hans Weber

  • Aurore Chételat

  • Philippe Reymond

  • Edward E. Farmer

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