Unsaturation of Very-Long-Chain Ceramides Protects Plant from Hypoxia-Induced Damages by Modulating Ethylene Signaling in Arabidopsis

Li Juan Xie, Qin Fang Chen, Mo Xian Chen, Lu Jun Yu, Li Huang, Liang Chen, Feng Zhu Wang, Fan Nv Xia, Tian Ren Zhu, Jian Xin Wu, Jian Yin, Bin Liao, Jianxin Shi, Jianhua ZHANG, Asaph Aharoni, Nan Yao, Wensheng Shu, Shi Xiao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)


Lipid remodeling is crucial for hypoxic tolerance in animals, whilst little is known about the hypoxia-induced lipid dynamics in plants. Here we performed a mass spectrometry-based analysis to survey the lipid profiles of Arabidopsis rosettes under various hypoxic conditions. We observed that hypoxia caused a significant increase in total amounts of phosphatidylserine, phosphatidic acid and oxidized lipids, but a decrease in phosphatidylcholine (PC) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE). Particularly, significant gains in the polyunsaturated species of PC, PE and phosphatidylinositol, and losses in their saturated and mono-unsaturated species were evident during hypoxia. Moreover, hypoxia led to a remarkable elevation of ceramides and hydroxyceramides. Disruption of ceramide synthases LOH1, LOH2 and LOH3 enhanced plant sensitivity to dark submergence, but displayed more resistance to submergence under light than wild type. Consistently, levels of unsaturated very-long-chain (VLC) ceramide species (22:1, 24:1 and 26:1) predominantly declined in the loh1, loh2 and loh3 mutants under dark submergence. In contrast, significant reduction of VLC ceramides in the loh1-1 loh3-1 knockdown double mutant and lacking of VLC unsaturated ceramides in the ads2 mutants impaired plant tolerance to both dark and light submergences. Evidence that C24:1-ceramide interacted with recombinant CTR1 protein and inhibited its kinase activity in vitro, enhanced ER-to-nucleus translocation of EIN2-GFP and stabilization of EIN3-GFP in vivo, suggests a role of ceramides in modulating CTR1-mediated ethylene signaling. The dark submergence-sensitive phenotypes of loh mutants were rescued by a ctr1-1 mutation. Thus, our findings demonstrate that unsaturation of VLC ceramides is a protective strategy for hypoxic tolerance in Arabidopsis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1005143
JournalPLoS Genetics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Cancer Research


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