Modifications of Sphingolipid Content Affect Tolerance to Hemibiotrophic and Necrotrophic Pathogens by Modulating Plant Defense Responses in Arabidopsis

Plant Physiol. 2015 Nov;169(3):2255-74. doi: 10.1104/pp.15.01126. Epub 2015 Sep 16.


Sphingolipids are emerging as second messengers in programmed cell death and plant defense mechanisms. However, their role in plant defense is far from being understood, especially against necrotrophic pathogens. Sphingolipidomics and plant defense responses during pathogenic infection were evaluated in the mutant of long-chain base phosphate (LCB-P) lyase, encoded by the dihydrosphingosine-1-phosphate lyase1 (AtDPL1) gene and regulating long-chain base/LCB-P homeostasis. Atdpl1 mutants exhibit tolerance to the necrotrophic fungus Botrytis cinerea but susceptibility to the hemibiotrophic bacterium Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato (Pst). Here, a direct comparison of sphingolipid profiles in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) during infection with pathogens differing in lifestyles is described. In contrast to long-chain bases (dihydrosphingosine [d18:0] and 4,8-sphingadienine [d18:2]), hydroxyceramide and LCB-P (phytosphingosine-1-phosphate [t18:0-P] and 4-hydroxy-8-sphingenine-1-phosphate [t18:1-P]) levels are higher in Atdpl1-1 than in wild-type plants in response to B. cinerea. Following Pst infection, t18:0-P accumulates more strongly in Atdpl1-1 than in wild-type plants. Moreover, d18:0 and t18:0-P appear as key players in Pst- and B. cinerea-induced cell death and reactive oxygen species accumulation. Salicylic acid levels are similar in both types of plants, independent of the pathogen. In addition, salicylic acid-dependent gene expression is similar in both types of B. cinerea-infected plants but is repressed in Atdpl1-1 after treatment with Pst. Infection with both pathogens triggers higher jasmonic acid, jasmonoyl-isoleucine accumulation, and jasmonic acid-dependent gene expression in Atdpl1-1 mutants. Our results demonstrate that sphingolipids play an important role in plant defense, especially toward necrotrophic pathogens, and highlight a novel connection between the jasmonate signaling pathway, cell death, and sphingolipids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / immunology*
  • Arabidopsis / microbiology
  • Arabidopsis / physiology
  • Botrytis / physiology
  • Cell Death
  • Cyclopentanes / metabolism
  • Isoleucine / analogs & derivatives
  • Isoleucine / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Oxylipins / metabolism
  • Plant Diseases / immunology*
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology
  • Plant Growth Regulators / metabolism*
  • Pseudomonas syringae / physiology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Salicylic Acid / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Sphingolipids / metabolism*
  • Sphingosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Sphingosine / metabolism


  • 4-hydroxy-8-sphingenine
  • Cyclopentanes
  • Oxylipins
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Sphingolipids
  • jasmonoyl-isoleucine
  • phytosphingosine-1-phosphate
  • Isoleucine
  • dihydrosphingosine 1-phosphate
  • jasmonic acid
  • Sphingosine
  • Salicylic Acid
  • safingol