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Phytochemistry. 2004 Mar;65(6):691-9.

Universally occurring phenylpropanoid and species-specific indolic metabolites in infected and uninfected Arabidopsis thaliana roots and leaves.

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Max-Planck-Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Carl-von-Linne-Weg 10, 50829 Cologne, Germany.


A total of eleven alkali-released, aromatic compounds were identified by HPLC, MS and NMR analyses in cell wall extracts from Arabidopsis thaliana roots. Nine of them together constituted the three complete series of 4-hydroxy-, 4-hydroxy-3-methoxy, and 4-hydroxy-3,5-dimethoxy-substituted benzaldehydes, benzoic acids and cinnamic acids. The other two were indolic metabolites: indole-3-carboxylic acid and indole-3-carbaldehyde. Qualitatively similar, but quantitatively distinct profiles were obtained using cell-wall extracts from A. thaliana leaves. Several of these compounds, particularly indole-3-carboxylic acid, 4-hydroxybenzoic acid and all four aldehydes, increased considerably in concentration upon infection of roots with Pythium sylvaticum, as did at least some of them upon infection of leaves with Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato. Comparison of these results with analogous data on a variety of different plant species suggests a remarkable structural uniformity among the majority of constitutive as well as infection-induced, aromatic cell wall-bound compounds throughout the entire plant kingdom-in sharp contrast to the highly species-specific, chemically highly divers bouquets of soluble aromatic metabolites.

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