The phytohormone salicylic acid (SA) affects plant development and defense responses. Recent studies revealed that SA also participates in the regulation of sphingolipid metabolism, but the details of this regulation remain to beexplored. Here, we use in silico Flux Balance Analysis (FBA) with published microarray data to construct a whole-cell simulation model, including 23 pathways, 259 reactions, and 172 metabolites, to predict the alterations in flux of major sphingolipid species after treatment with exogenous SA. This model predicts significant changes in fluxes of certain sphingolipid species after SA treatment, changes that likely trigger downstream physiological and phenotypic effects. To validate the simulation, we used (15)N-labeled metabolic turnover analysis to measure sphingolipid contents and turnover rate in Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings treated with SA or the SA analog benzothiadiazole (BTH). The results show that both SA and BTH affect sphingolipid metabolism, altering the concentrations of certain species and also changing the optimal flux distribution and turnover rate of sphingolipids. Our strategy allows us to estimate sphingolipid fluxes on a short time scale and gives us a systemic view of the effect of SA on sphingolipid homeostasis.
Keywords: ceramides; salicylic acid; sphingolipid.