Oxylipins: structurally diverse metabolites from fatty acid oxidation

Plant Physiol Biochem. 2009 Jun;47(6):511-7. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2008.12.011. Epub 2008 Dec 25.


Oxylipins are lipophilic signaling molecules derived from the oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Initial fatty acid oxidation occurs mainly by the enzymatic or chemical formation of fatty acid hydroperoxides. An array of alternative reactions further converting fatty acid hydroperoxides gives rise to a multitude of oxylipin classes, many with reported signaling functions in plants. Oxylipins include the phytohormone, jasmonic acid, and a number of other molecules including hydroxy-, oxo- or keto-fatty acids or volatile aldehydes that may perform various biological roles as second messengers, messengers in inter-organismic signaling, or even as bactericidal agents. The structural diversity of oxylipins is further increased by esterification of the compounds in plastidial glycolipids, for instance the Arabidopsides, or by conjugation of oxylipins to amino acids or other metabolites. The enzymes involved in oxylipin metabolism are diverse and comprise a multitude of examples with interesting and unusual catalytic properties. In addition, the interplay of different subcellular compartments during oxylipin biosynthesis suggests complex mechanisms of regulation that are not well understood. This review aims at giving an overview of plant oxylipins and the multitude of enzymes responsible for their biosynthesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biosynthetic Pathways
  • Oxylipins / chemistry
  • Oxylipins / metabolism*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Plants / enzymology*
  • Plants / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Oxylipins
  • Plant Proteins