GABA and related amino acids in plant immune responses emerging mechanisms of action

Łukasz Paweł Tarkowski, Santiago Signorelli, Monica Höfte

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

14 Citations (Scopus)


The entanglement between primary metabolism regulation and stress responses is a puzzling and fascinating theme in plant sciences. Among the major metabolites found in plants, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) fulfils important roles in connecting C and N metabolic fluxes through the GABA shunt. Activation of GABA metabolism is known since long to occur in plant tissues following biotic stresses, where GABA appears to have substantially different modes of action towards different categories of pathogens and pests. While it can harm insects thanks to its inhibitory effect on the neuronal transmission, its capacity to modulate the hypersensitive response (HR) in attacked host cells was proven to be crucial for host defenses in several pathosystems. In this review, we discuss how plants can employ GABA's versatility to effectively deal with all the major biotic stressors, and how GABA can shape plant immune responses against pathogens by modulating reactive oxygen species balance in invaded plant tissues. Finally, we discuss the connections between GABA and other stress-related amino acids such as BABA (β-aminobutyric acid), glutamate and proline. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant, Cell & Environment
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Jan 2020

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