The role of CYP71A12 monooxygenase in pathogen-triggered tryptophan metabolism and Arabidopsis immunity

New Phytol. 2020 Jan;225(1):400-412. doi: 10.1111/nph.16118. Epub 2019 Sep 21.


Effective defense of Arabidopsis against filamentous pathogens requires two mechanisms, both of which involve biosynthesis of tryptophan (Trp)-derived metabolites. Extracellular resistance involves products of PEN2-dependent metabolism of indole glucosinolates (IGs). Restriction of further fungal growth requires PAD3-dependent camalexin and other, as yet uncharacterized, indolics. This study focuses on the function of CYP71A12 monooxygenase in pathogen-triggered Trp metabolism, including the biosynthesis of indole-3-carboxylic acid (ICA). Moreover, to investigate the contribution of CYP71A12 and its products to Arabidopsis immunity, we analyzed infection phenotypes of multiple mutant lines combining pen2 with pad3, cyp71A12, cyp71A13 or cyp82C2. Metabolite profiling of cyp71A12 lines revealed a reduction in ICA accumulation. Additionally, analysis of mutant plants showed that low amounts of ICA can form during an immune response by CYP71B6/AAO1-dependent metabolism of indole acetonitrile, but not via IG hydrolysis. Infection assays with Plectosphaerella cucumerina and Colletotrichum tropicale, two pathogens with different lifestyles, revealed cyp71A12-, cyp71A13- and cyp82C2-associated defects associated with Arabidopsis immunity. Our results indicate that CYP71A12, but not CYP71A13, is the major enzyme responsible for the accumulation of ICA in Arabidopsis in response to pathogen ingression. We also show that both enzymes are key players in the resistance of Arabidopsis against selected filamentous pathogens after they invade.

Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; camalexin; glucosinolates; indole-3-carboxylic acid; plant immunity; tryptophan metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / enzymology*
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / immunology*
  • Arabidopsis / microbiology
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Ascomycota / pathogenicity
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism*
  • Disease Resistance / immunology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Glucosinolates / metabolism
  • Hydrolysis
  • Indoles / metabolism
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Plant Diseases / immunology
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology
  • Plant Immunity*
  • Tryptophan / biosynthesis
  • Tryptophan / metabolism*


  • 3-indolecarboxylic acid
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Glucosinolates
  • Indoles
  • Tryptophan
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • cytochrome P-450 71A12, Arabidopsis