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Beta-aminobutyric acid (BABA) as a plant-produced priming agent: Biosynthesis, regulation and perception

English title Beta-aminobutyric acid (BABA) as a plant-produced priming agent: Biosynthesis, regulation and perception
Applicant Mauch-Mani Brigitte
Number 160162
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Lab. de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire Institut de Biologie Université de Neuchâtel
Institution of higher education University of Neuchatel - NE
Main discipline Botany
Start/End 01.05.2015 - 30.04.2020
Approved amount 678'000.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Botany
Genetics
Molecular Biology

Keywords (3)

induced resistance; priming; beta-aminobutyric acid

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
BABA galt bis anhin als Pflanzenfremde Substanz welche in der Natur nur selten vorkommt. BABA ist jedoch seit langem auch dafür bekannt, dass es vermag, in Pflanzen Resistenz gegen biotische und abiotische Stressfaktoren zu induzieren. Unser Projekt möchte einen Beitrag dazu leisten herauszufinden, was die natürliche Rolle von BABA in Pflanzen ist.
Lay summary

 Inhalt und Ziele des Forschungsprojekts

 

Durch die enge Zusammenarbeit von Forschern aus dem Gebiet der Biologie und der Chemie sollen in diesem Projekt die Grundlagen geschaffen werden, um die genaue Rolle von BABA im (Ueber-)Leben von Pflanzen geschaffen werden. Wir werden untersuchen, wo überall im Pflanzenreich BAB vorkommt ob dies während des ganzen Lebens einer Pflanze der Fall ist und ob es n allen Organen der Pflanze nachgewiesen werden kann. Mit dem Konfokal-mikroskop wird die Subzelluläre Lokalisierung vorgenommen werden. Die natürliche Biosynthese der Substanz wird eruiert werden und durch Unterbrechen dieser Synthese wird untersucht werden, wie wichtig sie für den Pflanzenmetabolismus ist.

 

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext des Forschungsprojekts

 

In der Natur ist die Kapazität einer Pflanze zum Priming sehr wichtig für das Ueberleben - vor allem dann wenn sie sich verändernden Umweltbedingungen ausgesetzt ist. Das Vorhandensein der Substanz BABA ist eng mit dieser Kapazität verknüpft. Unsere Forschungen werden es erlauben, die neuen Kenntnisse dahin zu verwenden um Nutz-Pflanzen zu züchten, die eine erhöhte Kapazität zum Priming haben und daraus folgend sich besser gegen biotische und abiotische Stressfaktoren zu schützen. Dies sollte es dann erlauben, viel kleinere Mengen an Pestiziden in die Umwelt einzubringen ohne den Ertrag merklich zu mindern. 

 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.04.2015

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

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Project partner

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
183365 Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography-High Resolution Tandem Mass Spectrometry (UHPLC-HRMS/MS) for metabolomics and identification of bioactive molecules 01.10.2019 R'EQUIP
120197 Characterization of arabidopsis mutants altered in their ability to express BABA-induced resistance (BABA-IR) and priming 01.05.2008 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

Plants treated with the non-protein amino acid beta-aminobutyric acid (BABA) develop an enhanced defensive capacity against a large variety of biotic and abiotic stresses. Expression of such BABA-induced resistance (BABA-IR) coincides with a faster and stronger defense response following pathogen attack or abiotic stress. This phenomenon has been termed “priming”. Our research group has shown previously that there is a genetic basis for the observed induced resistance and priming. We have isolated mutants that allowed the dissection of the signalling pathways involved in the phenomenon, demonstrating that BABA-IR against biotic and abiotic stresses is based on priming of distinct defense signalling mechanisms involving several plant hormone defense pathways. Recently, we have been able to show that natural priming and priming by BABA both are transgenerational phenomena, the primed state of a plant being transferred to its descendants.Beta-amino acids are rarely found in plants and up to now, BABA was considered as xenobiotic substance. However, our latest results obtained in collaboration with our colleagues from the institute of chemistry provide clear evidence that plants do synthesize BABA and its accumulation increases upon exposure to biotic and abiotic stress. This exciting result upgrades BABA to the status of a potential plant priming hormone and opens a large array of questions that will be addressed in the present proposal:•How widespread is the occurrence of BABA in plants?•Is endogenous BABA indispensable for natural priming?•What is the biosynthetic pathway of BABA production?•How is BABA biosynthesis induced and regulated?•What is the fate of BABA in plants (catabolism, storage)?•How is BABA perceived by the plant?To answer these questions, we will not only rely on our longstanding experience in plant research based techniques but we will develop novel strategies in collaboration with colleagues from organic chemistry. As an example, the biosynthetic pathway will be analysed classically by screening plant mutant populations to pinpoint the synthesis and regulatory genes of the pathway and in parallel, tools for a chemistry-based approach using radiolabeled putative precursors will be developed and exploited. The natural occurrence and inducibility of BABA in plants together with its very large spectrum of efficacy for plant priming when applied exogenously suggest that it plays an important role in the establishment of natural priming. Priming confers enhanced stress resistance with minimal inhibitory effects on yield and fitness. Interestingly, the primed state is transferred to the descendants of a primed plant. If we can identify plants that have naturally higher levels of BABA, this trait could be exploited to introduce a higher adaptive capacity to respond to stress into our agricultural ecosystems.
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