Cyanogenic glucosides are present in many plants, including eudicots, monocots, and ferns and function as defence compounds based on their ability to release hydrogen cyanide. In this study, the diurnal rhythm of cyanogenic glucoside content and of transcripts and enzymes involved in their biosynthesis was monitored in cassava plants grown in a glasshouse under natural light conditions. Transcripts of CYP79D1, CYP79D2, CYP71E7/11, and UGT85K5 were at minimal levels around 9 p.m., increased during the night and decreased following onset of early morning light. Transcripts of UGT85K4 and HNL10 showed more subtle variations with a maximum reached in the afternoon. Western blots showed that the protein levels of CYP71E7/11 and UGT85K4/5 decreased during the light period to a near absence around 4 p.m. and then recovered during the dark period. Transcript and protein levels of linamarase were stable throughout the 24-hr cycle. The linamarin content increased during the dark period. In the light period, spikes in the incoming solar radiation were found to result in concomitantly reduced linamarin levels. In silico studies of the promoter regions of the biosynthetic genes revealed a high frequency of light, abiotic stress, and development-related transcription factor binding motifs. The synthesis and endogenous turnover of linamarin are controlled both at the transcript and protein levels. The observed endogenous turnover of linamarin in the light period may offer a source of reduced nitrogen to balance photosynthetic carbon fixation. The rapid decrease in linamarin content following light spikes suggests an additional function of linamarin as a ROS scavenger.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the VILLUM Research Center “Plant Plasticity”, by the UCPH Excellence Programme for Interdisciplinary Research to Center for Synthetic Biology, and by an ERC Advanced Grant (ERC-2012-ADG, Project No: 323034).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
- Plant Science