Assessment of Biological Activity of 28-Homobrassinolide via a Multi-Level Comparative Analysis

Junpeng Huang, Biaodi Shen, Xiao Rao, Xuehua Cao, Jianjun Zhang, Linchuan Liu, Jianming Li*, Juan Mao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Brassinosteroids (BRs) play vital roles in the plant life cycle and synthetic BRs are widely used to increase crop yield and plant stress tolerance. Among them are 24R-methyl-epibrassinolide (24-EBL) and 24S-ethyl-28-homobrassinolide (28-HBL), which differ from brassinolide (BL, the most active BR) at the C-24 position. Although it is well known that 24-EBL is 10% active as BL, there is no consensus on the bioactivity of 28-HBL. A recent outpouring of research interest in 28-HBL on major crops accompanied with a surge of industrial-scale synthesis that produces mixtures of active (22R,23R)-28-HBL and inactive (22S,23S)-28HBL, demands a standardized assay system capable of analyzing different synthetic “28-HBL” products. In this study, the relative bioactivity of 28-HBL to BL and 24-EBL, including its capacity to induce the well-established BR responses at molecular, biochemical, and physiological levels, was systematically analyzed using the whole seedlings of the wild-type and BR-deficient mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana. These multi-level bioassays consistently showed that 28-HBL exhibits a much stronger bioactivity than 24-EBL and is almost as active as BL in rescuing the short hypocotyl phenotype of the dark-grown det2 mutant. These results are consistent with the previously established structure–activity relationship of BRs, proving that this multi-level whole seedling bioassay system could be used to analyze different batches of industrially produced 28-HBL or other BL analogs to ensure the full potential of BRs in modern agriculture.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9377
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number11
Early online date27 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

User-Defined Keywords

  • brassinosteroids
  • 28-homobrassinolide
  • 24-epibrassinolide
  • brassinolide
  • bioactivity
  • BR response


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