The Effects of Glucosinolates and Their Breakdown Products on Necrotrophic Fungi

Kobi Buxdorf, Hila Yaffe, Omer Barda, Maggie Levy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Glucosinolates are a diverse class of S- and N-containing secondary metabolites that play a variety of roles in plant defense. In this study, we used Arabidopsis thaliana mutants that contain different amounts of glucosinolates and glucosinolate-breakdown products to study the effects of these phytochemicals on phytopathogenic fungi. We compared the fungus Botrytis cinerea, which infects a variety of hosts, with the Brassicaceae-specific fungus Alternaria brassicicola. B. cinerea isolates showed variable composition-dependent sensitivity to glucosinolates and their hydrolysis products, while A. brassicicola was more strongly affected by aliphatic glucosinolates and isothiocyanates as decomposition products. We also found that B. cinerea stimulates the accumulation of glucosinolates to a greater extent than A. brassicicola. In our work with A. brassicicola, we found that the type of glucosinolate-breakdown product is more important than the type of glucosinolate from which that product was derived, as demonstrated by the sensitivity of the Ler background and the sensitivity gained in Col-0 plants expressing epithiospecifier protein both of which accumulate simple nitrile and epithionitriles, but not isothiocyanates. Furthermore, in vivo, hydrolysis products of indole glucosinolates were found to be involved in defense against B. cinerea, but not in the host response to A. brassicicola. We suggest that the Brassicaceae-specialist A. brassicicola has adapted to the presence of indolic glucosinolates and can cope with their hydrolysis products. In contrast, some isolates of the generalist B. cinerea are more sensitive to these phytochemicals.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere70771
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
StatePublished - 5 Aug 2013


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