Ethylene and salicylic acid control glutathione biosynthesis in ozone-exposed Arabidopsis thaliana

Physiol Plant. 2009 Jul;136(3):284-98. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3054.2009.01220.x. Epub 2009 Feb 12.


Ozone produces reactive oxygen species and induces the synthesis of phytohormones, including ethylene and salicylic acid. These phytohormones act as signal molecules that enhance cell death in response to ozone exposure. However, some studies have shown that ethylene and salicylic acid can instead decrease the magnitude of ozone-induced cell death. Therefore, we studied the defensive roles of ethylene and salicylic acid against ozone. Unlike the wild-type, Col-0, Arabidopsis mutants deficient in ethylene signaling (ein2) or salicylic acid biosynthesis (sid2) generated high levels of superoxide and exhibited visible leaf injury, indicating that ethylene and salicylic acid can reduce ozone damage. Macroarray analysis suggested that the ethylene and salicylic acid defects influenced glutathione (GSH) metabolism. Increases in the reduced form of GSH occurred in Col-0 6 h after ozone exposure, but little GSH was detected in ein2 and sid2 mutants, suggesting that GSH levels were affected by ethylene or salicylic acid signaling. We performed gene expression analysis by real-time polymerase chain reaction using genes involved in GSH metabolism. Induction of gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase (GSH1), glutathione synthetase (GSH2), and glutathione reductase 1 (GR1) expression occurred normally in Col-0, but at much lower levels in ein2 and sid2. Enzymatic activities of GSH1 and GSH2 in ein2 and sid2 were significantly lower than in Col-0. Moreover, ozone-induced leaf damage observed in ein2 and sid2 was mitigated by artificial elevation of GSH content. Our results suggest that ethylene and salicylic acid protect against ozone-induced leaf injury by increasing de novo biosynthesis of GSH.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / drug effects
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Ethylenes / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Glutathione / biosynthesis*
  • Intramolecular Transferases / genetics
  • Intramolecular Transferases / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Ozone / pharmacology*
  • Plant Growth Regulators / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism
  • Salicylic Acid / metabolism*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • EIN2 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Ethylenes
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Ozone
  • ethylene
  • Intramolecular Transferases
  • isochorismate synthase
  • Glutathione
  • Salicylic Acid