Hydrogen sulfide mediates nicotine biosynthesis in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) under high temperature conditions

Plant Physiol Biochem. 2016 Jul;104:174-9. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2016.02.033. Epub 2016 Feb 27.


Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) acts as a signal to induce many physiological processes in plants, but its role in controlling the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites is not well established. In this study, we found that high temperature (HT) treatment induced nicotine biosynthesis in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) and promoted the rapid accumulation of H2S. Furthermore, HT triggered the biosynthesis of jasmonic acid (JA), a plant hormone that promotes nicotine biosynthesis. Suppression of the H2S signal using chemical inhibitors or via RNAi suppression of l-cysteine desulphydrase (L-CD) in transgenic plants, compromised JA production and nicotine biosynthesis under HT treatments, and these inhibitory effects could be reversed by applying exogenous H2S. Based on these data, we propose that H2S is an important trigger of nicotine biosynthesis in tobacco under HT conditions, and that H2S acts upstream of JA signaling by modulating the transcription of genes associated with JA biosynthesis.

Keywords: H(2)S; High temperature; Jasmonic acid; Nicotine.

MeSH terms

  • Biosynthetic Pathways / drug effects
  • Cyclopentanes / metabolism
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / pharmacology*
  • Nicotine / biosynthesis*
  • Oxylipins / metabolism
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • RNA Interference / drug effects
  • Temperature*
  • Tobacco / drug effects
  • Tobacco / metabolism*


  • Cyclopentanes
  • Oxylipins
  • Nicotine
  • jasmonic acid
  • Hydrogen Sulfide