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Glucosylation of (Z)-3-hexenol informs intraspecies interactions in plants: A case study in Camellia

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Glucosylation of (Z)-3-hexenol informs intraspecies interactions in plants: A case study in Camellia sinensis


Tingting Jing,  Na Zhang,  Ting Gao,  Mingyue Zhao,  Jieyang Jin,  Yongxian Chen,  Miaojing Xu,  Xiaochun Wan, Wilfried Schwab,  Chuankui Song *


Plant Cell Environ.




Plants emit a variety of volatiles in response to herbivore attack, and (Z)-3-hexenol and its glycosides have been shown to function as defence compounds. Although the ability to incorporate and convert (Z)-3-hexenol to glycosides is widely conserved in plants, the enzymes responsible for the glycosylation of (Z)
3hexenol remained unknown until today. In this study, uridine-diphosphate-dependent glycosyltransferase (UGT) candidate genes were selected by correlation analysis and their response to airborne (Z)-3-hexenol, which has been shown to be taken up by the tea plant. The allelic proteins UGT85A53-1 and UGT85A53-2 showed the highest activity towards (Z)-3-hexenol and are distinct from UGT85A53-3, which displayed a similar catalytic efficiency for (Z)-3-hexenol and nerol. A single amino acid exchange E59D enhanced the activity towards (Z)-3-hexenol, whereas a L445M mutation reduced the catalytic activity towards all substrates tested. Transient overexpression of CsUGT85A53-1 in tobacco significantly increased the level of (Z)-3-hexenyl glucoside. The functional characterization of CsUGT85A53 as a (Z)-3-hexenol UGT not only provides the foundation for the biotechnological production of (Z)-3-hexenyl glucoside but also delivers insights for the development of novel insect pest control strategies in tea plant and might be generally applicable to other plants.