, Volume 249, Issue 1, pp 235–249 | Cite as

Overexpression of geraniol synthase induces heat stress susceptibility in Nicotiana tabacum

  • Ashita Hamachi
  • Masahiro Nisihara
  • Shiori Saito
  • Hojun Rim
  • Hideyuki Takahashi
  • Monirul Islam
  • Takuya Uemura
  • Toshiyuki Ohnishi
  • Rika Ozawa
  • Massimo E. Maffei
  • Gen-ichiro ArimuraEmail author
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Terpenes and Isoprenoids


Main conclusion

Transgenic tobacco plants overexpressing the monoterpene alcohol geraniol synthase exhibit hypersensitivity to thermal stress, possibly due to suppressed sugar metabolism and transcriptional regulation of genes involved in thermal stress tolerance.

Monoterpene alcohols function in plant survival strategies, but they may cause self-toxicity to plants due to their hydrophobic and highly reactive properties. To explore the role of these compounds in plant stress responses, we assessed transgenic tobacco plants overexpressing the monoterpene alcohol geraniol synthase (GES plants). Growth, morphology and photosynthetic efficiency of GES plants were not significantly different from those of control plants (wild-type and GUS-transformed plants). While GES plants’ direct defenses against herbivores or pathogens were similar to those of control plants, their indirect defense (i.e., attracting herbivore enemy Nesidiocoris tenuis) was stronger compared to that of control plants. However, GES plants were susceptible to cold stress and even more susceptible to extreme heat stress (50 °C), as shown by decreased levels of sugar metabolites, invertase activity and its products (Glc and Fru), and leaf starch granules. Moreover, GES plants showed decreased transcription levels of the WRKY33 transcription factor gene and an aquaporin gene (PIP2). The results of this study show that GES plants exhibit enhanced indirect defense ability against herbivores, but conversely, GES plants exhibit hypersensitivity to heat stress due to suppressed sugar metabolism and gene regulation for thermal stress tolerance.


Geraniol Monoterpene Sugar metabolites Thermal stress Tobacco 



Cooled injection system


Cold trap system




Fresh weight


Geranyl β-d-glucopyranoside


Geranyl β-primeveroside


Geraniol synthase




Glucose 6-phosphate


Geranyl diphosphate




Heat shock factor


Heat shock protein


Isopentenyl diphosphate


Linalyl β-d-glucopyranoside


Linalyl β-primeveroside




Plant volatile organic compound


Quantitative polymerase chain reaction


Reactive oxygen species



We would like to thank Dr. Eran Pichersky (University of Michigan) for kindly providing GES cDNA clones; and Dr. Ko Kato (Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Japan) for providing a plasmid containing Arabidopsis HSP terminator. This work was financially supported in part by a JSPS KAKENHI to GA (16K07407) and a MEXT Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas to GA (18H04630 and 18H04786).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 22 kb)
425_2018_3054_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (2.3 mb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 2363 kb)
425_2018_3054_MOESM3_ESM.xlsx (20 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (XLSX 21 kb)
425_2018_3054_MOESM4_ESM.xls (81 kb)
Supplementary material 4 (XLS 82 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashita Hamachi
    • 1
  • Masahiro Nisihara
    • 2
  • Shiori Saito
    • 1
  • Hojun Rim
    • 1
  • Hideyuki Takahashi
    • 2
  • Monirul Islam
    • 3
  • Takuya Uemura
    • 1
  • Toshiyuki Ohnishi
    • 4
    • 5
  • Rika Ozawa
    • 6
  • Massimo E. Maffei
    • 3
  • Gen-ichiro Arimura
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biological Science and Technology, Faculty of Industrial Science and TechnologyTokyo University of ScienceTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Iwate Biotechnology Research CenterKitakamiJapan
  3. 3.Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology, Plant Physiology UnitUniversity of TurinTurinItaly
  4. 4.College of Agriculture, Academic InstituteShizuoka UniversityShizuokaJapan
  5. 5.Research Institute of Green Science and TechnologyShizuoka UniversityShizuokaJapan
  6. 6.Center for Ecological Research, Kyoto UniversityOtsuJapan

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