Herbivore-induced phenylacetonitrile is biosynthesized from de novo-synthesized L-phenylalanine in the giant knotweed, Fallopia sachalinensis

FEBS Lett. 2013 Jun 19;587(12):1811-7. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2013.04.038. Epub 2013 May 11.


Plants emit a series of characteristic volatile blends when damaged by insect feeding. Phenylacetonitrile is one of the volatiles from the leaves of the giant knotweed, Fallopia sachalinensis, infested by the Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica, or treated with exogenous airborne methyl jasmonate (MeJA). We examined the precursor of the nitrile and its origin in this system. L-Phenylalanine was determined to be a precursor of the nitrile in F. sachalinensis leaves, and the phenylalanine was also induced by beetle feeding and MeJA treatment. We also found that exogenous MeJA enhanced the biosynthesis of several amino acids in F. sachalinensis leaves.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / pharmacology
  • Acetonitriles / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Coleoptera / physiology
  • Cyclopentanes / pharmacology
  • Herbivory / physiology*
  • Oxylipins / pharmacology
  • Phenylalanine / biosynthesis*
  • Plant Leaves / drug effects
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Polygonaceae / drug effects
  • Polygonaceae / metabolism*


  • Acetates
  • Acetonitriles
  • Cyclopentanes
  • Oxylipins
  • benzyl cyanide
  • Phenylalanine
  • methyl jasmonate