Polyamines levels increase in smut teliospores after contact with sugarcane glycoproteins as a plant defensive mechanism


Previous studies have already highlighted the correlation between Sporisorium scitamineum pathogenicity and sugarcane polyamine accumulation. It was shown that high infectivity correlates with an increase in the amount of spermidine, spermine and cadaverine conjugated to phenols in the sensitive cultivars whereas resistant plants mainly produce free putrescine. However, these previous studies did not clarify the role of these polyamides in the disorders caused to the plant. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to clarify the effect of polyamines on the development of smut disease. In this paper, commercial polyamines were firstly assayed on smut teliospores germination. Secondly, effects were correlated to changes in endogenous polyamines after contact with defense sugarcane glycoproteins. Low concentrations of spermidine significantly activated teliospore germination, while putrescine had no activating effect on germination. Interestingly, it was observed that the diamine caused nuclear decondensation and breakage of the teliospore cell wall whereas the treatment of teliospores with spermidine did not induce nuclear decondensation or cell wall breakdown. Moreover, the number of polymerized microtubules increased in the presence of 7.5 mM spermidine but it decreased with putrescine which indicates that polyamines effects on Sporisorium scitamineum teliospore germination could be mediated through microtubules interaction. An increased production of polyamines in smut teliospores has been related to sugarcane resistance to the disease. Teliospores incubation with high molecular mass glycoproteins (HMMG) from the uninoculated resistant variety of sugarcane, Mayari 55-14, caused an increase of the insoluble fraction of putrescine, spermidine and spermine inside the teliospore cells. Moreover, the level of the soluble fraction of spermidine (S fraction) increased inside teliospores and the excess was released to the medium. The HMMG glycoproteins purified from Mayarí 55-14 plants previously inoculated with the pathogen significantly increased the levels of both retained and secreted soluble putrescine and spermidine. Polyamines levels did not increase in teliospores after incubation with HMMG produced by non resistant variety Barbados 42231 which could be related to the incapacity of these plants to defend themselves against smut disease. Thus, a hypothesis about the role of polyamines in sugarcane-smut interaction is explained.

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B 42231:

Barbados 42231 cv.






Ethylene glycol-bis(2-aminoethylether)-N,N,N′,N′-tetraacetic acid


High molecular mass glycoproteins


High Molarity Pipes Buffer


Mid molecular mass glycoproteins



My 55-14:

Mayarí 55-14 cv.


Ornithine decarboxylase




Phosphate saline buffer


Insoluble conjugated polyamine fraction


Piperazine-N,N′-bis(2-ethanesulfonic acid)










Soluble, free polyamine fraction


Soluble conjugated polyamine fraction


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Correspondence to Carlos Vicente.

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Sánchez-Elordi, E., de los Ríos, L.M., Vicente, C. et al. Polyamines levels increase in smut teliospores after contact with sugarcane glycoproteins as a plant defensive mechanism. J Plant Res 132, 405–417 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10265-019-01098-7

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  • Microtubules
  • Putrescine
  • Smut
  • Spermidine
  • Spermine
  • Sugarcane
  • Teliospores