Preparing to fight back: generation and storage of priming compounds

Front Plant Sci. 2014 Jun 24;5:295. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2014.00295. eCollection 2014.


Immune-stimulated plants are able to respond more rapidly and adequately to various biotic stresses allowing them to efficiently combat an infection. During the priming phase, plant are stimulated in absence of a challenge, and can accumulate and store conjugates or precursors of molecules as well as other compounds that play a role in defense. These molecules can be released during the defensive phase following stress. These metabolites can also participate in the first stages of the stress perception. Here, we report the metabolic changes occuring in primed plants during the priming phase. β-aminobutyric acid (BABA) causes a boost of the primary metabolism through the tricarboxylic acids (TCA) such as citrate, fumarate, (S)-malate and 2-oxoglutarate, and the potentiation of phenylpropanoid biosynthesis and the octodecanoic pathway. On the contrary, Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato (PstAvrRpt2) represses the same pathways. Both systems used to prime plants share some common signals like the changes in the synthesis of amino acids and the production of SA and its glycosides, as well as IAA. Interestingly, a product of the purine catabolism, xanthosine, was found to accumulate following both BABA- and PstAvrRpt2-treatement. The compounds that are strongly affected in this stage are called priming compounds, since their effect on the metabolism of the plant is to induce the production of primed compounds that will help to combat the stress. At the same time, additional identified metabolites suggest the possible defense pathways that plants are using to get ready for the battle.

Keywords: amino acids; induced resistance; metabolites; primary metabolism; priming; β-aminobutyric acid (BABA).