Non-canonical and developmental roles of the TCA cycle in plants

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2023 Aug:74:102382. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2023.102382. Epub 2023 May 19.


Over recent years, our understanding of the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCAC) in living organisms has expanded beyond its canonical role in cellular energy production. In plants, TCAC metabolites and related enzymes have important roles in physiology, including vacuolar function, chelation of metals and nutrients, photorespiration, and redox regulation. Research in other organisms, including animals, has demonstrated unexpected functions of the TCAC metabolites in a number of biological processes, including signaling, epigenetic regulation, and cell differentiation. Here, we review the recent progress in discovery of non-canonical roles of the TCAC. We then discuss research on these metabolites in the context of plant development, with a focus on research related to tissue-specific functions of the TCAC. Additionally, we review research describing connections between TCAC metabolites and phytohormone signaling pathways. Overall, we discuss the opportunities and challenges in discovering new functions of TCAC metabolites in plants.

Keywords: Phytohormones; Plant development; Primary metabolism; Tricarboxylic acid cycle.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Citric Acid Cycle*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Plant Development
  • Plant Growth Regulators / metabolism
  • Plants / metabolism


  • Plant Growth Regulators