Intermediates of salicylic acid biosynthesis in tobacco

David M. Ribnicky, Vladimir Shulaev, Ilya Raskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Salicylic acid (SA) is an important component of systemic-acquired resistance in plants. It is synthesized from benzoic acid (BA) as part of the phenylpropanoid pathway. Benzaldehyde (BD), a potential intermediate of this pathway, was found in healthy and tobacco mosaic virus (TMV)-inoculated tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L. cv Xanthi-nc) leaf tissue at 100 ng/g fresh weight concentrations as measured by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. BD was also emitted as a volatile organic compound from tobacco tissues. Application of gaseous BD to plants enclosed in jars caused a 13-fold increase in SA concentration, induced the accumulation of the pathogenesis-relaied transcript PR-1, and increased the resistance of tobacco to TMV inoculation. [13CJBD and [2H5]benzyl alcohol were converted to BA and SA. Labeling experiments using [13C1]Phe in temperature-shifted plants inoculated with the TMV showed high enrichment of cinnamic acids (72%), BA (34%), and SA (55%). The endogenous BD, however, contained nondetectable enrichment, suggesting that BD was not the intermediate between cinnamic acid and BA. These results show that BD and benzyl alcohol promote SA accumulation and expression of defense responses in tobacco, and provide insight into the early steps of SA biosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-572
Number of pages8
JournalPlant physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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