Background: The herbicides glyphosate (Gly) and imazamox (Imx) inhibit the biosynthesis of aromatic and branched-chain amino acids, respectively. Although these herbicides inhibit different pathways, they have been reported to show several common physiological effects in their modes of action, such as increasing free amino acid contents and decreasing soluble protein contents. To investigate proteolytic activities upon treatment with Gly and Imx, pea plants grown in hydroponic culture were treated with Imx or Gly, and the proteolytic profile of the roots was evaluated through fluorogenic kinetic assays and activity-based protein profiling.
Results: Several common changes in proteolytic activity were detected following Gly and Imx treatment. Both herbicides induced the ubiquitin-26 S proteasome system and papain-like cysteine proteases. In contrast, the activities of vacuolar processing enzymes, cysteine proteases and metacaspase 9 were reduced following treatment with both herbicides. Moreover, the activities of several putative serine protease were similarly increased or decreased following treatment with both herbicides. In contrast, an increase in YVADase activity was observed under Imx treatment versus a decrease under Gly treatment.
Conclusion: These results suggest that several proteolytic pathways are responsible for protein degradation upon herbicide treatment, although the specific role of each proteolytic activity remains to be determined.