Sesquiterpene lactone stereochemistry influences herbivore resistance and plant fitness in the field.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND AND AIMS:Stereochemical variation is widely known to influence the bioactivity of compounds in the context of pharmacology and pesticide science, but our understanding of its importance in mediating plant-herbivore interactions is limited, particularly in field settings. Similarly, sesquiterpene lactones are a broadly distributed class of putative defensive compounds, but little is known about their activities in the field. METHODS:Natural variation in sesquiterpene lactones of the common cocklebur, Xanthium strumarium (Asteraceae), was used in conjunction with a series of common garden experiments to examine relationships between stereochemical variation, herbivore damage and plant fitness. KEY RESULTS:The stereochemistry of sesquiterpene lactone ring junctions helped to explain variation in plant herbivore resistance. Plants producing cis-fused sesquiterpene lactones experienced significantly higher damage than plants producing trans-fused sesquiterpene lactones. Experiments manipulating herbivore damage above and below ambient levels found that herbivore damage was negatively correlated with plant fitness. This pattern translated into significant fitness differences between chemotypes under ambient levels of herbivore attack, but not when attack was experimentally reduced via pesticide. CONCLUSIONS:To our knowledge, this work represents only the second study to examine sesquiterpene lactones as defensive compounds in the field, the first to document herbivore-mediated natural selection on sesquiterpene lactone variation and the first to investigate the ecological significance of the stereochemistry of the lactone ring junction. The results indicate that subtle differences in stereochemistry may be a major determinant of the protective role of secondary metabolites and thus of plant fitness. As stereochemical variation is widespread in many groups of secondary metabolites, these findings suggest the possibility of dynamic evolutionary histories within the Asteraceae and other plant families showing extensive stereochemical variation.
Project description:Reformatsky reagents react sequentially with silyl glyoxylates and ?-lactones to give highly functionalized Claisen condensation products. A heretofore undocumented instance of stereochemical 1,4-induction results in efficient transmission of ?-lactone stereochemistry to the emerging fully substituted stereocenter. Second-stage transformations reveal that the five heteroatom-containing functionalities embedded within the products are entirely chemo-differentiated, a circumstance that permits rapid assembly of the leustroducsin B core substructure.
Project description:Plants produce large amounts of secondary metabolites in their shoots and roots and store them in specialized secretory structures. Although secondary metabolites and their secretory structures are commonly assumed to have a defensive function, evidence that they benefit plant fitness under herbivore attack is scarce, especially below ground. Here, we tested whether latex secondary metabolites produced by the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale agg.) decrease the performance of its major native insect root herbivore, the larvae of the common cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha), and benefit plant vegetative and reproductive fitness under M. melolontha attack. Across 17 T. officinale genotypes screened by gas and liquid chromatography, latex concentrations of the sesquiterpene lactone taraxinic acid ?-D-glucopyranosyl ester (TA-G) were negatively associated with M. melolontha larval growth. Adding purified TA-G to artificial diet at ecologically relevant concentrations reduced larval feeding. Silencing the germacrene A synthase ToGAS1, an enzyme that was identified to catalyze the first committed step of TA-G biosynthesis, resulted in a 90% reduction of TA-G levels and a pronounced increase in M. melolontha feeding. Transgenic, TA-G-deficient lines were preferred by M. melolontha and suffered three times more root biomass reduction than control lines. In a common garden experiment involving over 2,000 T. officinale individuals belonging to 17 different genotypes, high TA-G concentrations were associated with the maintenance of high vegetative and reproductive fitness under M. melolontha attack. Taken together, our study demonstrates that a latex secondary metabolite benefits plants under herbivore attack, a result that provides a mechanistic framework for root herbivore driven natural selection and evolution of plant defenses below ground.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) induces complete remission in a majority of acute promyelocytic leukaemia patients, but resistance of leukaemic cells to ATRA and its toxicity, such as hypercalcaemia, lead to a limitation of treatment. Therefore, combination therapies with differentiation-enhancing agents at non-toxic concentrations of ATRA may overcome its side effects. Here, we investigated the effect of plant-derived sesquiterpene lactone compounds and their underlying mechanisms in ATRA-induced differentiation of human leukaemia HL-60 cells. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: HL-60 cells were treated with four sesquiterpene lactones (helenalin, costunolide, parthenolide and sclareolide) and cell differentiation was determined by NBT reduction, Giemsa and cytofluorometric analyses. Signalling pathways were assessed by western blotting, gel-shift assay and kinase activity determinations and intracellular calcium levels were determined using a calcium-specific fluorescent probe. KEY RESULTS: Helenalin, costunolide and parthenolide, but not sclareolide, increased ATRA-induced HL-60 cell differentiation into a granulocytic lineage. Signalling kinases PKC and ERK were involved in the ATRA-induced differentiation enhanced by all of the effective sesquiterpene lactones, but JNK and PI3-K were involved in the ATRA-induced differentiation enhanced by costunolide and parthenolide. Enhancement of cell differentiation closely correlated with inhibition of NF-kappaB DNA-binding activity by all three effective compounds. Importantly, enhancement of differentiation induced by 50 nM ATRA by the sesquiterpene lactones was not accompanied by elevation of basal intracellular calcium concentrations. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: These results indicate that plant-derived sesquiterpene lactones may enhance ATRA-mediated cell differentiation through distinct pathways.
Project description:Investigation of the ethanol extract of the whole plant of Ainsliaea yunnanensis led to the isolation of four new dimeric sesquiterpene lactones, ainsliadimer F-I (1-4), together with seven known dimeric sesquiterpene lactones (5-11) and ten sesquiterpenes (12-21). Their structures were elucidated by spectroscopic methods. The relative stereochemistry of ainsliadimer F was further confirmed by single crystal X-ray diffraction analysis. Compounds 1-21 were tested for the inhibition of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-?B) in the 293-NF-?B-luciferase reporter cell line induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and Compounds 5, 18, 20 and 21 were further tested for the production of TNF-?, IL-1?, IL-6 and IL-10 in RAW 264.7 macrophages induced by LPS. Compounds 5, 18, 20 and 21 exhibited significant activity in anti-inflammatory activity assays.
Project description:Plants experience seasonal fluctuations in abiotic and biotic factors such as herbivore attack rates. If and how root defense expression co-varies with seasonal fluctuations in abiotic factors and root herbivore attack rates is not well understood. Here, we evaluated seasonal changes in defensive root latex chemistry of Taraxacum officinale plants in the field and correlated the changes with seasonal fluctuations in abiotic factors and damage potential by Melolontha melolontha, a major natural enemy of T. officinale. We then explored the causality and consequences of these relationships under controlled conditions. The concentration of the defensive sesquiterpene lactone taraxinic acid ?-D glucopyranosyl ester (TA-G) varied substantially over the year and was most strongly correlated to mean monthly temperature. Both temperature and TA-G levels were correlated with annual fluctuations in potential M. melolontha damage. Under controlled conditions, plants grown under high temperature produced more TA-G and were less attractive for M. melolontha. However, temperature-dependent M. melolontha feeding preferences were not significantly altered in TA-G deficient transgenic lines. Our results suggest that fluctuations in temperature leads to variation in the production of a root defensive metabolites that co-varies with expected attack of a major root herbivore. Temperature-dependent herbivore preference, however, is likely to be modulated by other phenotypic alterations.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Sesquiterpene lactones are characteristic metabolites of Asteraceae (or Compositae) which often display potent bioactivities and are sequestered in specialized organs such as laticifers, resin ducts, and trichomes. For characterization of sunflower sesquiterpene synthases we employed a simple method to isolate pure trichomes from anther appendages which facilitated the identification of these genes and investigation of their enzymatic functions and expression patterns during trichome development. RESULTS: Glandular trichomes of sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) were isolated, and their RNA was extracted to investigate the initial steps of sesquiterpene lactone biosynthesis. Reverse transcription-PCR experiments led to the identification of three sesquiterpene synthases. By combination of in vitro and in vivo characterization of sesquiterpene synthase gene products in Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, respectively, two enzymes were identified as germacrene A synthases, the key enzymes of sesquiterpene lactone biosynthesis. Due to the very low in vitro activity, the third enzyme was expressed in vivo in yeast as a thioredoxin-fusion protein for functional characterization. In in vivo assays, it was identified as a multiproduct enzyme with the volatile sesquiterpene hydrocarbon delta-cadinene as one of the two main products with alpha-muuorlene, beta-caryophyllene, alpha-humulene and alpha-copaene as minor products. The second main compound remained unidentified. For expression studies, glandular trichomes from the anther appendages of sunflower florets were isolated in particular developmental stages from the pre- to the post-secretory phase. All three sesquiterpene synthases were solely upregulated during the biosynthetically active stages of the trichomes. Expression in different aerial plant parts coincided with occurrence and maturity of trichomes. Young roots with root hairs showed expression of the sesquiterpene synthase genes as well. CONCLUSION: This study functionally identified sesquiterpene synthase genes predominantly expressed in sunflower trichomes. Evidence for the transcriptional regulation of sesquiterpene synthase genes in trichome cells suggest a potential use for these specialized cells for the identification of further genes involved in the biosynthesis, transport, and regulation of sesquiterpene lactones.
Project description:Plants display extensive intraspecific variation in secondary metabolites. However, the selective forces shaping this diversity remain often unknown, especially below ground. Using Taraxacum officinale and its major native insect root herbivore Melolontha melolontha, we tested whether below-ground herbivores drive intraspecific variation in root secondary metabolites. We found that high M. melolontha infestation levels over recent decades are associated with high concentrations of major root latex secondary metabolites across 21 central European T. officinale field populations. By cultivating offspring of these populations, we show that both heritable variation and phenotypic plasticity contribute to the observed differences. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the production of the sesquiterpene lactone taraxinic acid ?-D-glucopyranosyl ester (TA-G) is costly in the absence, but beneficial in the presence of M. melolontha, resulting in divergent selection of TA-G. Our results highlight the role of soil-dwelling insects for the evolution of plant defences in nature.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Maize (Zea mays L.) leaves damaged by lepidopteran herbivores emit a complex volatile blend that can attract natural enemies of the herbivores and may also have roles in direct defense and inter- or intra-plant signaling. The volatile blend is dominated by sesquiterpenes of which the majority is produced by two herbivore-induced terpene synthases, TPS10 and TPS23. However, little is known about the pattern of volatile emission within maize leaves.<h4>Results</h4>In this study, we restricted herbivore feeding to small sections of the maize leaf with the aim of determining the patterns of volatile sesquiterpene emission throughout the damaged leaf and in neighboring leaves. Sesquiterpene volatiles were released at high rates from damaged leaves, but at much lower rates from neighboring leaves. Release was restricted to the site of damage or to leaf sections located apical to the damage, but was not seen in sections basal to the damage or on the other side of the midrib. The emission pattern correlated well with the transcript pattern of the respective sesquiterpene synthase genes, tps10 and tps23, implying that biosynthesis likely occurs at the site of emission. The concentrations of jasmonic acid and its leucine derivative were also elevated in terpene-emitting tissues suggesting a role for jasmonates in propagating the damage signal.<h4>Conclusions</h4>In contrast to other defense reactions which often occur systemically throughout the whole plant, herbivore-induced sesquiterpene production in maize is restricted to the wounding site and distal leaf parts. Since the signal mediating this reaction is directed to the leaf tip and cannot propagate parallel to the leaf axis, it is likely connected to the xylem. The increasing gradient of volatiles from the tip of the leaf towards the damage site might aid herbivore enemies in host or prey finding.
Project description:A streamlined entry into the sesquiterpene lactone (SQL) cores of linearifolin and zaluzanin A is described. Stereochemistry is controlled through transformations uncovered by ISES (In Situ Enzymatic Screening). Absolute stereochemistry derives from kinetic resolution of 5-benzyloxypentene-1,2-oxide, utilizing a ?-pinene-derived-Co(III)-salen. Relative stereochemistry (1,3-cis-fusion) is set via formal halometalation/carbocyclization, mediated by [Rh(O(2)CC(3)F(7))(2)](2)/LiBr. Subsequent ring-closing metathesis (RCM-Grubbs II) yields the title exomethylene-?-lactone SQL cores. In complementary fashion, RCM with Grubbs-I catalyst provides the oxabicyclo[3.3.1]nonyl core of xerophilusin R and zinagrandinolide.
Project description:The sesquiterpene lactones, Isodeoxyelephantopin (IDET) and Deoxyelephantopin (DET) are known to exhibit activities against some cancer types. The activities of these lactones against breast cancer and the molecular bases is not known. We examined the efficacy of lactones in breast cancer preclinical model. Although both lactones exhibited drug like properties, IDET was relatively effective in comparison to DET. IDET suppressed the proliferation of both invasive and non-invasive breast cancer cell lines. IDET also suppressed the colony formation and migration of breast cancer cells. The assays for Acridine Orange (AO)/Propidium Iodide (PI) staining, cell cycle distribution, phosphatidylserine externalization and DNA laddering suggested the apoptosis inducing potential of IDET. The treatment with IDET also induced an accumulation of cells in the sub-G1 and G2/M phases. The exposure of breast cancer cells to the lactone was associated with a depolarization in mitochondrial membrane potential, and cleavage of caspase and PARP. The lactone induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in breast cancer cells. Further, the use of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) suppressed IDET induced ROS generation and apoptosis. The NF-?B-p65 nuclear translocation induced by okadaic acid (OA) was suppressed by the sesquiterpene. IDET also suppressed the expression of NF-?B regulated tumorigenic proteins, and induced the expression of proapoptotic gene (Bax) in cancer cells. While the expression of oncogenic lncRNAs was suppressed, the tumor suppressor lncRNAs were induced by the sesquiterpene. Collectively, the modulation of multiple cell signaling molecules by IDET may contribute to its activities in breast cancer cells.