GROWTH RETARDANTS: Effects on Gibberellin Biosynthesis and Other Metabolic Pathways

Annu Rev Plant Physiol Plant Mol Biol. 2000 Jun;51:501-531. doi: 10.1146/annurev.arplant.51.1.501.


Plant growth retardants are applied in agronomic and horticultural crops to reduce unwanted longitudinal shoot growth without lowering plant productivity. Most growth retardants act by inhibiting gibberellin (GA) biosynthesis. To date, four different types of such inhibitors are known: (a) Onium compounds, such as chlormequat chloride, mepiquat chloride, chlorphonium, and AMO-1618, which block the cyclases copalyl-diphosphate synthase and ent-kaurene synthase involved in the early steps of GA metabolism. (b) Compounds with an N-containing heterocycle, e.g. ancymidol, flurprimidol, tetcyclacis, paclobutrazol, uniconazole-P, and inabenfide. These retardants block cytochrome P450-dependent monooxygenases, thereby inhibiting oxidation of ent-kaurene into ent-kaurenoic acid. (c) Structural mimics of 2-oxoglutaric acid, which is the co-substrate of dioxygenases that catalyze late steps of GA formation. Acylcyclohexanediones, e.g. prohexadione-Ca and trinexapac-ethyl and daminozide, block particularly 3ss-hydroxylation, thereby inhibiting the formation of highly active GAs from inactive precursors, and (d) 16,17-Dihydro-GA5 and related structures act most likely by mimicking the GA precursor substrate of the same dioxygenases. Enzymes, similar to the ones involved in GA biosynthesis, are also of importance in the formation of abscisic acid, ethylene, sterols, flavonoids, and other plant constituents. Changes in the levels of these compounds found after treatment with growth retardants can mostly be explained by side activities on such enzymes.