Plant perception of b-aminobutyric acid is mediated by an aspartyl-tRNA synthetase

Estrella Luna Diez, van Hulten, Zhang, Berkowitz, López, Pétriacq, Sellwood, Chen, Burrell, van de Meene, Pieterse, Flors, Ton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)


Specific chemicals can prime the plant immune system for augmented defense. β-aminobutyric acid (BABA) is a priming agent that provides broad-spectrum disease protection. However, BABA also suppresses plant growth when applied in high doses, which has hampered its application as a crop defense activator. Here we describe a mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana that is impaired in BABA-induced disease immunity (ibi1) but is hypersensitive to BABA-induced growth repression. IBI1 encodes an aspartyl-tRNA synthetase. Enantiomer-specific binding of the R enantiomer of BABA to IBI1 primed the protein for noncanonical defense signaling in the cytoplasm after pathogen attack. This priming was associated with aspartic acid accumulation and tRNA-induced phosphorylation of translation initiation factor eIF2α. However, mutation of eIF2α-phosphorylating GCN2 kinase did not affect BABA-induced immunity but relieved BABA-induced growth repression. Hence, BABA-activated IBI1 controls plant immunity and growth via separate pathways. Our results open new opportunities to separate broad-spectrum disease resistance from the associated costs on plant growth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-456
JournalNature Chemical Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'Plant perception of b-aminobutyric acid is mediated by an aspartyl-tRNA synthetase'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this