J Integr Plant Biol.

• Research Articles •    

Natural variation in linalool metabolites: One genetic locus, many functions?

Jun He1,2 , Rayko Halitschke2 , Ian T. Baldwin2 * and Meredith C. Schuman2,3*   

  1. 1 National Citrus Engineering Research Center, Citrus Research Institute, Southwest University, Chongqing 400712, China
    2 Department of Molecular Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena 07745, Germany
    3 Departments of Geography and Chemistry, University of Zürich, Zürich 8057, Switzerland

    *Correspondences: Ian T. Baldwin (baldwin@ice.mpg.de, Dr. Baldwin is fully responsible for the distributions of all materials associated with this article), Meredith C. Schuman (meredithchristine.schuman@uzh.ch)
  • Received:2021-01-08 Accepted:2021-04-27 Online:2021-04-30

Abstract: The ubiquitous volatile linalool is metabolized in plants to nonvolatile derivatives. We studied Nicotiana attenuata plants which naturally vary in (S)-(+)-linalool contents, and lines engineered to produce either (R)-(-)- or (S)-(+)-linalool. Only (S)-(+)-linalool production was associated with slower growth of a generalist herbivore, and a large fraction was present as nonvolatile derivatives. We found that variation in volatile linalool and its nonvolatile glycosides mapped to the same genetic locus which harbored the biosynthetic gene, NaLIS, but that free linalool varied more in environmental responses. This study reveals how (S)-(+)-linalool and conjugates differ in their regulation and possible functions in resistance.

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