Altered metabolomic states elicited by Flg22 and FlgII-28 in Solanum lycopersicum: intracellular perturbations and metabolite defenses

Dylan R. Zeiss, Paul A. Steenkamp, Lizelle A. Piater, Ian A. Dubery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Surveillance of potential pathogens is a key feature of plant innate immunity. For non-self-recognition plants rely on the perception of pathogen-derived molecules. Early post-perception events activate signaling cascades, leading to the synthesis of defense-related proteins and specialized metabolites, thereby providing a broad-spectrum antimicrobial coverage. This study was concerned with tracking changes in the tomato plant metabolome following perception of the flagellum-derived elicitors (Flg22 and FlgII-28). Results: Following an untargeted metabolomics workflow, the metabolic profiles of a Solanum lycopersicum cultivar were monitored over a time range of 16–32 h post-treatment. Liquid chromatography was used to resolve the complex mixture of metabolites and mass spectrometry for the detection of differences associated with the elicitor treatments. Stringent data processing and multivariate statistical tools were applied to the complex dataset to extract relevant metabolite features associated with the elicitor treatments. Following perception of Flg22 and FlgII-28, both elicitors triggered an oxidative burst, albeit with different kinetic responses. Signatory biomarkers were annotated from diverse metabolite classes which included amino acid derivatives, lipid species, steroidal glycoalkaloids, hydroxybenzoic acids, hydroxycinnamic acids and derivatives, as well as flavonoids. Conclusions: An untargeted metabolomics approach adequately captured the subtle and nuanced perturbations associated with elicitor-linked plant defense responses. The shared and unique features characterizing the metabolite profiles suggest a divergence of signal transduction events following perception of Flg22 vs. FlgII-28, leading to a differential reorganization of downstream metabolic pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Article number429
JournalBMC Plant Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Flagellin
  • Metabolic profile
  • Plant defence
  • Plant-microbe interactions
  • Tomato

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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