Root parasitic weeds in Orobanchaceae cause serious damage to worldwide agriculture. Germination of the parasites requires host-derived germination stimulants, such as strigolactones, as indicators of host roots within reach of the parasite's radicles. This unique germination process was focused on to identify metabolic pathways required for germination, and to design a selective control strategy. A metabolomic analysis of germinating seeds of clover broomrape, Orobanche minor, was conducted to identify its distinctive metabolites. Consequently, a galactosylsucrose trisaccharide, planteose (α-d-galactopyranosyl-(1→6)-β-d-fructofuranosyl-(2→1)-α-d-glucopyranoside), was identified as a metabolite that decreased promptly after reception of the germination stimulant. To investigate the importance of planteose metabolism, the effects of several glycosidase inhibitors were examined, and nojirimycin bisulfite (NJ) was found to alter the sugar metabolism and to selectively inhibit the germination of O. minor. Planteose consumption was similar in NJ-treated seeds and non-treated germinating seeds; however, NJ-treated seeds showed lower consumption of sucrose, a possible intermediate of planteose metabolism, resulting in significantly less glucose and fructose. This inhibitory effect was recovered by adding glucose. These results suggest that planteose is a storage carbohydrate required for early stage of germination of O. minor, and NJ inhibits germination by blocking the supply of essential glucose from planteose and sucrose. Additionally, NJ selectively inhibited radicle elongation of germinated seeds of Orobanchaceae plants (Striga hermonthica and Phtheirospermum japonicum). Thus, NJ will be a promising tool to develop specific herbicides to the parasites, especially broomrapes, and to improve our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of this unique germination.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science