Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Plant Signal Behav. 2010 Sep;5(9):1088-98. Epub 2010 Sep 1.

Catechin is a phytototoxin and a pro-oxidant secreted from the roots of Centaurea stoebe.

Author information

  • 1Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, USA.


When applied to the roots of Arabidopsis thaliana, the phytotoxin (±)-catechin triggers a wave of reactive oxygen species (ROS), leading to a cascade of genome-wide changes in gene expression and, ultimately, death of the root system. Biochemical links describing the root secreted phytotoxin, (±)-catechin, represent one of most well studied systems to describe biochemically based negative plant-plant interactions, but of late have also sparked controversies on phytotoxicity and pro-oxidant behavior of (±)-catechin. The studies originating from two labs ( 1- 3) maintained that (±)-catechin is not at all phytotoxic but has strong antioxidant activity. The step-wise experiments performed and the highly correlative results reported in the present study clearly indicate that (±)-catechin indeed is phytotoxic against A. thaliana and Festuca idahoensis. Our results show that catechin dissolved in both organic and aqueous phase inflict phytotoxic activity against both A. thaliana and F. idahoensis. We show that the deviation in results highlighted by the two labs ( 1- 3) could be due to different media conditions and a group effect in catechin treated seedlings. We also determined the presence of catechin in the growth medium of C. stoebe to support the previous studies. One of the largest functional categories observed for catechin-responsive genes corresponded to gene families known to participate in cell death and oxidative stress. Our results showed that (±)-catechin treatment to A. thaliana plants resulted in activation of signature cell death genes such as accelerated cell death (acd2) and constitutively activated cell death 1 (cad1). Further, we confirmed our earlier observation of (±)-catechin induced ROS mediated phytotoxicity in A. thaliana. We also provide evidence that (±)-catechin induced ROS could be aggravated in the presence of divalent transition metals. These observations have significant impact on our understanding regarding catechin phytotoxicity and pro-oxidant activity. Our data also illustrates that precise conditions are needed to evaluate the effect of catechin phytotoxicity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk