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Plant Physiol. 1994 Nov;106(3):1085-1093.

Fumonisin- and AAL-Toxin-Induced Disruption of Sphingolipid Metabolism with Accumulation of Free Sphingoid Bases.

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Southern Weed Science Laboratory, United States Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service, Stoneville, Mississippi 38776 (H.K.A., S.O.D.).


Fumonisins (FB) and AAL-toxin are sphingoid-like compounds produced by several species of fungi associated with plant diseases. In animal cells, both fumonisins produced by Fusarium moniliforme and AAL-toxin produced by Alternaria alternata f. sp. lycopersici inhibit ceramide synthesis, an early biochemical event in the animal diseases associated with consumption of F. moniliforme-contaminated corn. In duckweed (Lemna pausicostata Heglem. 6746), tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill), and tobacco callus (Nicotiana tabacum cv Wisconsin), pure FB1 or AAL-toxin caused a marked elevation of phytosphingosine and sphinganine, sphingoid bases normally present in low concentrations. The relative increases were quite different in the three plant systems. Nonetheless, disruption of sphingolipid metabolism was clearly a common feature in plants exposed to FB1 or AAL-toxin. Resistant varieties of tomato (Asc/Asc) were much less sensitive to toxin-induced increases in free sphinganine. Because free sphingoid bases are precursors to plant "ceramides," their accumulation suggests that the primary biochemical lesion is inhibition of de novo ceramide synthesis and reacylation of free sphingoid bases. Thus, in plants the disease symptoms associated with A. alternata and F. moniliforme infection may be due to disruption of sphingolipid metabolism.

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