Inhibition of saturated very-long-chain fatty acid biosynthesis by mefluidide and perfluidone, selective inhibitors of 3-ketoacyl-CoA synthases.

PMID 22284369


The trifluoromethanesulphonanilides mefluidide and perfluidone are used in agriculture as plant growth regulators and herbicides. Despite the fact that mefluidide and perfluidone have been investigated experimentally for decades, their mode of action is still unknown. In this study, we used a cascade approach of different methods to clarify the mode of action and target site of mefluidide and perfluidone. Physiological profiling using an array of biotests and metabolic profiling in treated plants of Lemna paucicostata suggested a common mode of action in very-long-chain fatty acid (VLCFA) synthesis similar to the known 3-ketoacyl-CoA synthase (KCS) inhibitor metazachlor. Detailed analysis of fatty acid composition in Lemna plants showed a decrease of saturated VLCFAs after treatment with mefluidide and perfluidone. To study compound effects on enzyme level, recombinant KCSs from Arabidopsis thaliana were expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Enzyme activities of seven KCS proteins from 17 tested were characterized by their fatty acid substrate and product spectrum. For the KCS CER6, the VLCFA product spectrum in vivo, which consists of tetracosanoic acid, hexacosanoic acid and octacosanoic acid, is reported here for the first time. Similar to metazachlor, mefluidide and perfluidone were able to inhibit KCS1, CER6 and CER60 enzyme activities in vivo. FAE1 and KCS2 were inhibited by mefluidide only slightly, whereas metazachlor and perfluidone were strong inhibitors of these enzymes with IC(50) values in μM range. This suggests that KCS enzymes in VLCFA synthesis are the primary herbicide target of mefluidide and perfluidone.