Chinese Bulletin of Botany

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Dual Regulating Effects of Ethylene on the Formation of Plant Secondary Metabolites

Rongjun Fang1,2†, Hua Zhao1,3†, Yonghui Liao1, Chengyi Tang1, Fengyao Wu1, Yu Zhu1, Yanjun Pang1, Guihua Lu1, Xiaoming Wang1, Rongwu Yang1*, Jinliang Qi1,4*, Yonghua Yang1*   

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Institute of Plant Molecular Biology, School of Life Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China;

    2Jiangsu University of Science and Technology, Zhenjiang 212003, China;

    3Nantong University, Nantong 226019, China; 4Huaian High-Tech Research Institute of Nanjing University, Huaian 223005, China
  • Received:2013-09-29 Revised:2014-01-14 Online:2014-09-01 Published:2014-07-02
  • Contact: Rongwu Yang, Jinliang Qi, Yonghua Yang

Abstract: Plant secondary metabolites are important natural sources for drugs and chemical raw materials. The formation of these metabolites is closely related to the normal growth and adaptation to environments by plants and could be regulated by a variety of factors. As an endogenous hormone in plants, ethylene plays important roles in regulating most plant physiological processes such as growth, development, stress resistance and secondary metabolite biosynthesis. Here, we review the signal transduction mechanism and regulatory effects of ethylene, especially its dual regulatory effects, on the formation of plant secondary metabolites, namely, how ethylene promotes the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites within a range of concentration in plants but has an inhibitory effect on the formation of secondary metabolites outside of a certain threshold of concentration. We give prospects for further research in this field.