The roles of polyamines during the lifespan of plants: from development to stress

Abstract

Compelling evidence indicates that free polyamines (PAs) (mainly putrescine, spermidine, spermine, and its isomer thermospermine), some PA conjugates to hydroxycinnamic acids, and the products of PA oxidation (hydrogen peroxide and γ-aminobutyric acid) are required for different processes in plant development and participate in abiotic and biotic stress responses. A tight regulation of PA homeostasis is required, since depletion or over-accumulation of PAs can be detrimental for cell viability in many organisms. In plants, homeostasis is achieved by modulation of PA biosynthesis, conjugation, catabolism, and transport. However, recent data indicate that such mechanisms are not mere modulators of PA pools but actively participate in PA functions. Examples are found in the spermidine-dependent eiF5A hypusination required for cell division, PA hydroxycinnamic acid conjugates required for pollen development, and the involvement of thermospermine in cell specification. Recent advances also point to implications of PA transport in stress tolerance, PA-dependent transcriptional and translational modulation of genes and transcripts, and posttranslational modifications of proteins. Overall, the molecular mechanisms identified suggest that PAs are intricately coordinated and/or mediate different stress and developmental pathways during the lifespan of plants.

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Acknowledgments

We apologize to authors that could not be cited owing to space limitations. We thank Prof. J. Bastida for advice on HCAA chemistry. R.A. acknowledges support from the Ramón y Cajal Program (RYC-2011-07847) of the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (Spain) and the Marie Curie Career Integration Grant (DISEASENVIRON, PCIG10-GA-2011-303568) of the European Union. Research has been supported by the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (BIO2011-29683 and CSD2007-00036) and the Generalitat de Catalunya (SGR2009-1060).

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Correspondence to Rubén Alcázar.

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Tiburcio, A.F., Altabella, T., Bitrián, M. et al. The roles of polyamines during the lifespan of plants: from development to stress. Planta 240, 1–18 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00425-014-2055-9

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Keywords

  • Polyamines
  • Abiotic and biotic stress
  • Metabolism
  • eiF5A
  • ABA
  • Growth