Transient transcriptional regulation of the CYS-C1 gene and cyanide accumulation upon pathogen infection in the plant immune response.Plant Physiol. 2013 Aug; 162(4):2015-27.PP
Cyanide is produced concomitantly with ethylene biosynthesis. Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) detoxifies cyanide primarily through the enzyme β-cyanoalanine synthase, mainly by the mitochondrial CYS-C1. CYS-C1 loss of function is not toxic for the plant and leads to an increased level of cyanide in cys-c1 mutants as well as a root hairless phenotype. The classification of genes differentially expressed in cys-c1 and wild-type plants reveals that the high endogenous cyanide content of the cys-c1 mutant is correlated with the biotic stress response. Cyanide accumulation and CYS-C1 gene expression are negatively correlated during compatible and incompatible plant-bacteria interactions. In addition, cys-c1 plants present an increased susceptibility to the necrotrophic fungus Botrytis cinerea and an increased tolerance to the biotrophic Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato DC3000 bacterium and Beet curly top virus. The cys-c1 mutation produces a reduction in respiration rate in leaves, an accumulation of reactive oxygen species, and an induction of the alternative oxidase AOX1a and pathogenesis-related PR1 expression. We hypothesize that cyanide, which is transiently accumulated during avirulent bacterial infection and constitutively accumulated in the cys-c1 mutant, uncouples the respiratory electron chain dependent on the cytochrome c oxidase, and this uncoupling induces the alternative oxidase activity and the accumulation of reactive oxygen species, which act by stimulating the salicylic acid-dependent signaling pathway of the plant immune system.