Journal of plant physiology

Volatile and non-volatile monoterpenes produced by elicitor-stimulated Cupressus lusitanica cultured cells.

PMID 19027192


Elicitor treatment initiates defense responses in cultured Cupressus lusitanica cells. In order to investigate the defense mechanism with a yeast extract elicitor, we carried out solid-phase microextraction coupled with gas chromatography for monoterpene analysis. Ten hydrocarbon monoterpenes, including high amounts of sabinene and limonene, were detected in the gas phase of the elicitor-treated cell cultures. Six oxidized monoterpenes including beta-thujaplicin were also detected in the ether extract of the cells and the medium. Time-course profiles of volatile monoterpenes showed that one group of hydrocarbon monoterpenes was maximized on the second day after elicitation, while the other group was maximized on the third day. There were no oxidized monoterpenes that are structurally related to sabinene and limonene in the gas phase or cell extracts, suggesting that these compounds are produced exclusively for emission. Other monoterpenes, which are produced during later stages of elicitation, are metabolized into more complex compounds such as oxidized monoterpenes, including beta-thujaplicin. Although terpinolene synthase was the principal monoterpene synthase in these cell cultures, terpinolene was detected only as a minor compound in the gas phase. The time course for terpinolene synthase activity coincided with beta-thujaplicin biosynthesis. Thus, most of the terpinolene is metabolized rapidly to oxidized terpenes such as beta-thujaplicin rather than emitted.

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β-Thujaplicin, 99%