Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture (PCTOC)

, Volume 138, Issue 1, pp 207–213 | Cite as

Terminal secondary C(sp3), aliphatic secondary C(sp2), aliphatic tertiary C(sp2), primary amine (aliphatic), ring secondary C(sp3) and imidazole numbers can be used to discriminate between cytokinins and cytokinin antagonists

  • Ivan Andújar
  • Daviel Gómez
  • Lianny Pérez
  • Sershen
  • José Carlos LorenzoEmail author
Research Note


One of the most widely used approaches to study cytokinin mode of action involves the use of cytokinin antagonists (anticytokinins). Despite this, few studies have compared the chemical structure of cytokinins and anticytokinins. This formed the focus of the present study, which identified a range of molecular descriptors differentiating four cytokinins from 11 cytokinins antagonists. DRAGON software (version 5.5, 2007) and CambridgeSoft ChemOffice (version 12, 2010) tools (viz. ChemDraw and Chem3D) were used to calculate 212 molecular descriptors for the cytokinins and anticytokinins studied. Only 18 descriptors showed statistically significant differences between cytokinins and antagonists. The most marked molecular descriptor differences included the following: Cytokinins did not contain terminal secondary C(sp3), primary amines (aliphatic) or ring secondary C(sp3) which were present in several antagonists; cytokinins averaged 11 times more imidazoles, 2.2 times more secondary amines (aromatic), 1.8 times more rotatable bonds, 1.6 times more pyrimidines, 1.5 times more multiple bonds, 1.5 times aromatic bonds, 1.2 times non-H bonds and 1.2 times non-N atoms. The following molecular descriptors were also higher in cytokinins: rotatable bond fraction, sum of conventional bond orders (H-depleted), sum of Kier-Hall electrotopological states, molecular weight, and unsaturation index. The molecular descriptors (18) that differed significantly between cytokinins and anticytokinins were used to generate a dendrogram which correctly classified the two groups as two independent branches. The data presented support the classification of these 15 molecules as cytokinins or cytokinin antagonists and can be explored to determine their usefulness in finding new molecules of either class.

Key message

Molecular descriptors differentiate cytokinins and anticytokinins.


Chemo-informatics Plant growth regulators Molecular descriptors 



This research was supported by the Bioplant Centre (University of Ciego de Ávila, Cuba) and the University of Kwazulu-Natal (South Africa).

Author contribution

I.A., D.G., L.P., S. and J.C.L. designed the research, analyzed the data and wrote the paper. J.C.L. had primary responsibility for the final content. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Authors do not have any conflict of interests.

Research involving in human and animal rights

This research did not involve experiments with human or animal participants.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ivan Andújar
    • 1
  • Daviel Gómez
    • 2
  • Lianny Pérez
    • 3
  • Sershen
    • 4
  • José Carlos Lorenzo
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory for Plant Cell and Tissue CultureUniversity of Ciego de AvilaCiego de ÁvilaCuba
  2. 2.Laboratory for Plant Breeding & Conservation of Genetic ResourcesUniversity of Ciego de AvilaCiego de ÁvilaCuba
  3. 3.Laboratory for Metabolic Engineering, Bioplant CenterUniversity of Ciego de AvilaCiego de ÁvilaCuba
  4. 4.School of Life SciencesUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalDurbanSouth Africa

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