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Planta. 2009 Aug;230(3):517-27. doi: 10.1007/s00425-009-0960-0. Epub 2009 Jun 12.

Accumulation of hydroxycinnamic acid amides induced by pathogen infection and identification of agmatine coumaroyltransferase in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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Division of Applied Biosciences, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kyoto, 606-8502, Japan.


Hydroxycinnamic acid amides (HCAAs) are secondary metabolites involved in the defense of plants against pathogens. Here, we report the first identification of HCAAs, p-coumaroylagmatine, feruloylagmatine, p-coumaroylputrescine and feruloylputrescine, in Arabidopsis thaliana rosette leaves infected with Alternaria brassicicola and the assignment of At5g61160 as the agmatine coumaroyltransferase (AtACT) that catalyzes the last reaction in the biosynthesis of the HCAAs. Feeding experiments with putative labeled precursors revealed that the four HCAAs were synthesized from hydroxycinnamic acids and agmatine or putrescine. AtACT gene function was identified from an analysis of a mutant that did not accumulate HCAAs. In wild-type Arabidopsis, AtACT transcripts markedly increased in response to A. brassicicola infection. Enzymatic activity that catalyzes the synthesis of the HCAAs was confirmed in vitro by using a recombinant AtACT expressed in Escherichia coli. The Atact mutant was susceptible to infection by A. brassicicola, indicating that HCAAs are responsible for defense against pathogens in A. thaliana.

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