Cysteine-generated sulfide in the cytosol negatively regulates autophagy and modulates the transcriptional profile in Arabidopsis

Plant Cell. 2012 Nov;24(11):4621-34. doi: 10.1105/tpc.112.105403. Epub 2012 Nov 9.


In Arabidopsis thaliana, DES1 is the only identified L-Cysteine desulfhydrase located in the cytosol, and it is involved in the degradation of cysteine and the concomitant production of H(2)S in this cell compartment. Detailed characterization of the T-DNA insertion mutants des1-1 and des1-2 has provided insight into the role of sulfide metabolically generated in the cytosol as a signaling molecule. Mutations of L-CYS DESULFHYDRASE 1 (DES1) impede H(2)S generation in the Arabidopsis cytosol and strongly affect plant metabolism. Senescence-associated vacuoles are detected in mesophyll protoplasts of des1 mutants. Additionally, DES1 deficiency promotes the accumulation and lipidation of the ATG8 protein, which is associated with the process of autophagy. The transcriptional profile of the des1-1 mutant corresponds to its premature senescence and autophagy-induction phenotypes, and restoring H(2)S generation has been shown to eliminate the phenotypic defects of des1 mutants. Moreover, sulfide is able to reverse ATG8 accumulation and lipidation, even in wild-type plants when autophagy is induced by carbon starvation, suggesting a general effect of sulfide on autophagy regulation that is unrelated to sulfur or nitrogen limitation stress. Our results suggest that cysteine-generated sulfide in the cytosol negatively regulates autophagy and modulates the transcriptional profile of Arabidopsis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / drug effects
  • Arabidopsis / enzymology
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / physiology
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Autophagy*
  • Carbon / metabolism
  • Cellular Senescence
  • Cystathionine gamma-Lyase / genetics*
  • Cystathionine gamma-Lyase / metabolism
  • Cysteine / metabolism*
  • Cytosol / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / metabolism
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / pharmacology*
  • Mesophyll Cells / metabolism
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Nitrogen / metabolism
  • Phenotype
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcriptome
  • Vacuoles / metabolism


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Carbon
  • Cystathionine gamma-Lyase
  • Cysteine
  • Nitrogen
  • Hydrogen Sulfide

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE19244
  • GEO/GSE32566