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Plant Signal Behav. 2014;9(3):e28275. Epub 2014 Mar 4.

The role of L-DOPA in plants.

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Laboratory of Plant Biochemistry; Department of Biochemistry; State University of Maringá; Maringá, PR, Brazil.


Since higher plants regularly release organic compounds into the environment, their decay products are often added to the soil matrix and a few have been reported as agents of plant-plant interactions. These compounds, active against higher plants, typically suppress seed germination, cause injury to root growth and other meristems, and inhibit seedling growth. Mucuna pruriens is an example of a successful cover crop with several highly active secondary chemical agents that are produced by its seeds, leaves and roots. The main phytotoxic compound encountered is the non-protein amino acid L-DOPA, which is used in treating the symptoms of Parkinson disease. In plants, L-DOPA is a precursor of many alkaloids, catecholamines, and melanin and is released from Mucuna into soils, inhibiting the growth of nearby plant species. This mini-review summarizes knowledge regarding L-DOPA in plants, providing a brief overview about its metabolic actions.


Allelopathy; L-DOPA; Mucuna; allelochemicals; non-protein amino acid; plant growth; reactive oxygen species

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