Sugar Tech

, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 647–655 | Cite as

Yellow Canopy Syndrome (YCS) in Sugarcane is Associated with Altered Carbon Partitioning in the Leaf

  • Annelie Marquardt
  • Gerard Scalia
  • Kate Wathen-Dunn
  • Frederik C. Botha
Research Article


Understanding the metabolic and gene expression changes that accompany the expression of Yellow Canopy Syndrome (YCS) in sugarcane is important and could greatly assist in developing management strategies as well as in the identification of potential causal factors. Leaves representing two stages of development (leaves 4 and 6) from YCS symptomatic and YCS asymptomatic plants, from two seasons, were analysed using gas chromatography linked to mass spectrometry. More than 200 metabolites were detected in the leaf samples, and 84 of these could be identified. The results revealed intrinsic differences (p = 0.05) between the metabolomes of the YCS symptomatic and asymptomatic plants. It was evident that significant metabolic changes occurred well before the development of leaf yellowing. The major metabolic changes were associated with sugar metabolism, the pentose phosphate cycle, and phenylpropanoid and α-ketoglutarate metabolism. The diurnal changes of sucrose concentrations (low in the morning and high at the end of the day) are absent in the YCS symptomatic plants even before symptom expression. Comparing the leaf transcriptomes of the symptomatic and asymptomatic plants shows that a complex network of changes in gene expression underpins the observed changes in the metabolome.


Phenylpropanoid pathway Sucrose Leaf senescence Gene expression 



This study was funded by Sugar Research Australia (Grant Number 2015016).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Afgan, E., C. Sloggett, N. Goonasekera, et al. 2015. Genomics virtual laboratory: A practical bioinformatics workbench for the cloud. PLoS ONE 10: e0140829.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Bonnett, G.D. 2013. Developmental stages (phenology). In Sugarcane: physiology, biochemistry, and functional biology, ed. P.H. Moore, and F.C. Botha, 35–53. New York: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Braun, D.M., Y. Ma, N. Inada, M.G. Muszynski, and R.F. Baker. 2006. Tie-dyed1 regulates carbohydrate accumulation in maize leaves. Plant Physiology 142: 1511–1522.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Bundy, J.G., M.P. Davey, and M.R. Viant. 2009. Environmental metabolomics: A critical review and future perspectives. Metabolomics 5: 3–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chinnaraja, C., and R. Viswanathan. 2015. Variability in yellow leaf symptom expression caused by the sugarcane yellow leaf virus and its seasonal influence in sugarcane. Phytoparasitica 43: 339–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Du, Y.-C., A. Nose, A. Kondo, and K. Wasano. 2000. Diurnal changes in photosynthesis in sugarcane leaves. II. Enzyme activities and metabolite levels relating to sucrose and starch metabolism. Plant Production Science 3: 9–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gray, J., D. Caparrós-Ruiz, and E. Grotewold. 2012. Grass phenylpropanoids: regulate before using! Plant Science 184: 112–120.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Hill, C.B., J.D. Taylor, J. Edwards, et al. 2013. Whole-genome mapping of agronomic and metabolic traits to identify novel quantitative trait loci in bread wheat grown in a water-limited environment. Plant Physiology 162: 1266–1281.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. Hu, C., J. Shi, S. Quan, et al. 2014. Metabolic variation between japonica and indica rice cultivars as revealed by non-targeted metabolomics. Scientific Reports 4: 5067.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. Koch, K. 2004. Sucrose metabolism: Regulatory mechanisms and pivotal roles in sugar sensing and plant development. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 7: 235–246.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Lastdrager, J., J. Hanson, and S. Smeekens. 2014. Sugar signals and the control of plant growth and development. Journal of Experimental Botany 65: 799–807.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Ma, J., M. Hanssen, K. Lundgren, et al. 2011. The sucrose-regulated Arabidopsis transcription factor bZIP11 reprograms metabolism and regulates trehalose metabolism. New Phytologist 191: 733–745.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Macoy, D., W.-Y. Kim, S. Lee, and M. Kim. 2015. Biotic stress related functions of hydroxycinnamic acid amide in plants. Journal of Plant Biology 58: 156–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Marquardt, A., G. Scalia, P. Joyce, J. Basnayake, and F. C. Botha. 2016. Changes in photosynthesis and carbohydrate metabolism in sugarcane during the development of Yellow Canopy Syndrome (YCS). Functional Plant Biology 43: 523–533.Google Scholar
  15. Martins, M.C.M., M. Hejazi, J. Fettke, et al. 2013. Feedback inhibition of starch degradation in arabidopsis leaves mediated by trehalose 6-phosphate. Plant Physiology 163: 1142–1163.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. Morkunas, I., and L. Ratajczak. 2014. The role of sugar signaling in plant defense responses against fungal pathogens. Acta Physiologiae Plantarum 36: 1607–1619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Payyavula, R.S., R.K. Singh, and D.A. Navarre. 2013. Transcription factors, sucrose, and sucrose metabolic genes interact to regulate potato phenylpropanoid metabolism. Journal of Experimental Botany 64: 5115–5131.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  18. Rajcan, I., and M. Tollenaar. 1999. Source:sink ratio and leaf senescence in maize: II. Nitrogen metabolism during grain filling. Field Crops Research 60: 255–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Rodziewicz, P., B. Swarcewicz, K. Chmielewska, A. Wojakowska, and M. Stobiecki. 2014. Influence of abiotic stresses on plant proteome and metabolome changes. Acta Physiologiae Plantarum 36: 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Roessner, U., A. Luedemann, D. Brust, et al. 2001. Metabolic profiling allows comprehensive phenotyping of genetically or environmentally modified plant systems. Plant Cell 13: 11–29.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  21. Rolland, F., B. Moore, and J. Sheen. 2002. Sugar sensing and signaling in plants. Plant Cell 14: S185–S205.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  22. Schauer, N., and A.R. Fernie. 2006. Plant metabolomics: Towards biological function and mechanism. Trends in Plant Science 11: 508–516.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Shahri, W., S. Sabhi Ahmad, and I. Tahir. 2015. Sugar signaling in plant growth and development. In Plant signaling: Understanding the molecular crosstalk, ed. K.R. Hakeem, R.U. Rehman, and I. Tahir, 93–116. New Dehli: Springer.Google Scholar
  24. Slewinski, T.L., R.F. Baker, A. Stubert, and D.M. Braun. 2012. Tie-dyed2 encodes a callose synthase that functions in vein development and affects symplastic trafficking within the phloem of maize leaves. Plant Physiology 160: 1540–1550.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  25. Smeekens, S., J. Ma, J. Hanson, et al. 2010. Sugar signals and molecular networks controlling plant growth. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 13: 273–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Tauzin, A.S., and T. Giardina. 2014. Sucrose and invertases, a part of the plant defense response to the biotic stresses. Frontiers in Plant Science. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2014.00293.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  27. Thiagarajah, M.R., L.A. Hunt, and J.D. Mahon. 1981. Effects of position and age on leaf photosynthesis in corn (Zea mays). Canadian Journal of Botany 59: 28–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Thomas, H. 2013. Senescence, ageing and death of the whole plant. New Phytologist 197: 696–711.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Trethewey, R.N., and A.M. Smith. 2000. Starch metabolism in leaves. In Photosynthesis: Physiology and metabolism, ed. R.C. Leegood, T.D. Sharkey, and S. Caemmerer, 205–231. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Weise, S.E., K.J. van Wijk, and T.D. Sharkey. 2011. The role of transitory starch in C3, CAM, and C4 metabolism and opportunities for engineering leaf starch accumulation. Journal of Experimental Botany 62: 3109–3118.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Wingler, A., T.L. Delatte, L.E. O’Hara, et al. 2012. Trehalose 6-phosphate is required for the onset of leaf senescence associated with high carbon availability. Plant Physiology 158: 1241–1251.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  32. Xia, J., I.V. Sinelnikov, B. Han, and D.S. Wishart. 2015. MetaboAnalyst 3.0—Making metabolomics more meaningful. Nucleic Acids Research 43: 251–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Society for Sugar Research & Promotion 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sugar Research Australia LimitedIndooroopillyAustralia
  2. 2.Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI)University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia

Personalised recommendations