UGT89AC1-mediated quercetin glucosylation is induced upon herbivore damage and enhances Camellia sinensis resistance to insect feeding

Tingting Jing, Wenkai Du, Xiaona Qian, Kai Wang, Lanxin Luo, Xueying Zhang, Yanni Deng, Bo Li, Ting Gao, Mengting Zhang, Danyang Guo, Hao Jiang, Yuantao Liu, Wilfried Schwab, Xiaoling Sun, Chuankui Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Quercetin is a key flavonol in tea plants (Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze) with various health benefits, and it often occurs in the form of glucosides. The roles of quercetin and its glucosylated forms in plant defense are generally not well-studied, and remain unknown in the defense of tea. Here, we found higher contents of quercetin glucosides and a decline of the aglucone upon Ectropis grisescens (E. grisescens) infestation of tea. Nine UGTs were strongly induced, among which UGT89AC1 exhibited the highest activity toward quercetin in vitro and in vivo. The mass of E. grisescens larvae that fed on plants with repressed UGT89AC1 or varieties with lower levels of UGT89AC1 was significantly lower than that of larvae fed on controls. Artificial diet supplemented with quercetin glucoside also reduced the larval growth rate, whereas artificial diet supplemented with free quercetin had no significant effect on larval growth. UGT89AC1 was located in both the cytoplasm and nucleus, and its expression was modulated by JA, JA-ILE, and MeJA. These findings demonstrate that quercetin glucosylation serves a defensive role in tea against herbivory. Our results also provide novel insights into the ecological relevance of flavonoid glycosides under biotic stress in plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)682-697
Number of pages16
JournalPlant Cell and Environment
Volume47
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Keywords

  • Camellia sinensis
  • CsUGT89AC1
  • herbivore resistance
  • quercetin glucoside

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