Effects of Ethylene on Plant Responses to Air Pollutants

  • Nobuyoshi Nakajima


Ozone (O3) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) induce various forms of damage to plants. In the case of O3, its effects differ depending on whether exposure is acute (high concentration) or chronic (repetitive low concentration; see the chapter by I. Nouchi, this volume). In many plant species, ethylene production is one of the earliest plant responses to these pollutants, under both exposure conditions, and the extent of pollutant -induced leaf injury has been shown to be associated with the rate of ethylene production (Kangasjärvi et al. 1994). Furthermore, recent physiological studies has shown that hormonal action of ethylene promotes leaf damage and senescence under ozone exposure (Bae et al. 1996; Miller et al. 1999). Ethylene is a gaseous plant hormone that induces a variety of physiological phenomena, such as leaf epinasty, abscission, fruit ripening, hook opening, lateral expansion of cells, and (leaf) senescence. The rate of ethylene production increases in response to various environmental stimuli, such as wounding, fungal infection, irradiation, water logging, and air pollution (Abeles et al.1992). In some cases, stress-induced ethylene induces physiological or morphological changes that make the plants more stress tolerant; however, its role in these processes is only partially understood. Extensive research into the ethylene biosynthetic pathway and of the genes encoding enzymes of this pathway has been carried out since 1979. Ethylene is synthesized from S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) via 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC).


Ethylene Production Ethylene Biosynthesis Ozone Exposure Arginine Decarboxylase Leaf Injury 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abeles FB, Morgan PW, Saltveit ME Jr. (1992) Ethylene in plant biology, 2nd edn. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. Apelbaum A, Goldlust A, Icekson 1 (1985) Control by ethylene of arginine decarboxylase activity in pea seedlings and its implication for hormonal regulation of plant growth. Plant Physiol 79: 635–640PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bae GY, Kondo N, Nakajima N, Ishizuka K (1995) Ethylene production in tomato plants by SO2 in relation to leaf injury. J Jpn Soc Atmos Environ 30:367–373Google Scholar
  4. Bae GY, Nakajima N, Ishizuka K, Kondo N (1996) The role in ozone phytotoxicity of the evolution of ethylene upon induction of 1-aminocyclopropane-l-carboxylic acid synthase by ozone fumigation in tomato plants. Plant Cell Physiol 37: 129–134Google Scholar
  5. Bamford AJR, Borland AM, Lea PL, Mansfield TA (1989) The role of arginine decarboxylase in modulating the sensivity of barley to ozone. Environ Pollut 61: 95–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bressan RA, LeCureux L, Wilson LG, Filner P (1979) Emission of ethylene and ethane by leaf tissue exposed to injurious concentration of sulfur dioxide or bisulfite ion. Plant Physiol 63: 924–930PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Craker L (1971) Ethylene production from ozone injured plants. Environ Pollut 1: 299–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dann MS, Pell EJ (1989) Decline of activity and quantity of ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase and net photosynthesis in ozone-treated potato foliage. Plant Physiol 91: 427–432PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Elstner EF (1987) Ozone and ethylene stress. Nature 328: 482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ernst D, Schraudner M, Langebartels C, Sandermann H Jr. (1992) Ozone-induced changes of mRNA levels of ß -1,3-glucanase, chitinase and ‘pathogenesis-related’ protein lb in tobacco plants. Plant Mol Biol 20:673–682PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Galiano H, Cabane M, Eckerskorn C, Lottspeich F, Sandermann H Jr., Ernst D (1993) Molecular cloning, sequence analysis and elicitor-/ozone-induced accumulation of cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase from Norway spruce (Picea abies L.) Plant Mol Biol 23: 145–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Glick RE, Schlagnhaufer CD, Arteca RN, Pell E (1995) Ozone-induced ethylene emission accelerates the loss of ribulose-l,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase and nuclear- encoded mRNAs in senescing potato leaves. Plant Physiol 109: 891–898PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Hewitt CN, Kok GL, Fall R (1990) Hydroperoxides in plants exposed to ozone mediate air pollution damage to alkene emitters. Nature 344:56–58PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hyodo H, Tanaka K (1986) Inhibition of 1-aminocyclopropane-l-carboxylic acid synthase activity by polyamines their related compounds and metabolites of S-adenosylmethionine. Plant Cell Physiol 3: 391–398Google Scholar
  15. Kangasjärvi J, Talvinen J, Utriainen M, Kaijalainen R (1994) Plant defense systems induced by ozone. Plant Cell Environ 17:783–794CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kende H (1993) Ethylene biosynthesis. Annu Rev Plant Physiol Plant Mol Biol 44: 283–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kieber JJ (1997) The ethylene response pathway in Arabidopsis. Annu Rev Plant Physiol Plant Mol Biol 48: 277–296PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Langebartels C, Kerner K, Leonard S, Schraudner M, Trost M, Heller W, Sandermann H Jr. (1991) Biochemical plant responses to ozone. Plant Physiol 95:882–889PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lincoln JE, Campbell AD, Oetiker J, Rottmann WH, Oeller PW, Shen NF, Theologis A (1993) LE-ACS4, a fruit ripening and wound-induced 1-aminocyclopropane-l- carboxylate synthase gene of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum). J Biol Chem 268: 19422–19430PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Mehlhorn H (1990) Ethylene-promoted ascorbate peroxidase activity protects plants against hydrogen peroxide, ozone and paraquat. Plant Cell Environ 13: 971–976CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mehlhorn H, Wellburn AR (1987) Stress ethylene formation determines plant sensitivity to ozone. Nature 327: 417–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mehlhorn H, Tabner BJ, Wellburn AR (1990) Electron spin resonance evidence for the formation of free radicals in plants exposed to ozone. Physiol Plant 79: 377–383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mehlhorn H, O’Shea JM, Wellburn AR (1991) Atmospheric ozone interacts with stress ethylene formation by plant to cause visible plant injury. J Exp Bot 42: 17–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Miller JD, Arteca RN, Pell EJ (1999) Senescence-associated gene expression during ozone-induced leaf senescence in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol 120: 1015–1023PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nagireddy G, Arteca RN, Dai YR, Flores HE, Negm FB, Pell EJ (1993) Changes in ethylene and polyamines in relation to m’RNA leaves of the large and small subunits of ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase in ozone-stressed potato foliage. Plant Cell Environ 16: 819–826CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Oetiker JH, Olson DC, Shiu OY, Yang SF (1997) Differential induction of seven 1- aminocyclopropane-l-carboxylate synthase genes by elicitor in suspension culture of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum). Plant Mol Biol 34: 275–286PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Peiser GD, Yang SF (1979) Ethylene and ethane production from sulfur dioxide-injured plants. Plant Physiol 63: 142–145PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pell EJ, Schlagnhaufer CD, Arteca RN (1997) Ozone-induced oxidative stress: mechanisms of action and reaction. Physiol. Plant 100: 264–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rosemann S, Heller W, Sandermann H Jr. (1991) Biochemical plant responses to ozone. Plant Physiol 97: 1280–1286PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schlagnhaufer CD, Glick RE, Arteca RN, Pell EJ (1995) Molecular cloning of an ozone- induced 1 -aminocyclopropane-1 -carboxylate synthase cDNA and its relationship with a loss of rbcS in potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) plants. Plant Mol Biol 28: 93–103PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Schlagnhaufer CD, Glick RE, Arteca RN, Pell EJ (1997) Sequential expression of two 1- aminocyclopropane-l-carboxylate synthase genes in response to biotic and abiotic stress in potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) leaves. Plant Mol Biol 35: 683–688PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Schraudner M, Ernst D, Langebartels C, Sandermann H Jr. (1992) Biochemical plant responses to ozone. Plant Physiol 99: 1321–1328PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Tatsuki M, Mori H (1999) Rapid and transient expression of 1-aminocyclopropane-l- carboxylate synthase isogenes by touch and wound stimuli in tomato. Plant Cell Physiol 40: 709–715PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Tingey DT, Standley C, Field RW (1976) Stress ethylene evolution: a measure of ozone effects on plants. Atmos Environ 10: 969–974PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Tuomainen J, Betz C, Kangasjärvi J, Ernst D, Yin ZH, Langebartels C, Sandermann H (1997) Ozone induction of ethylene emission in tomato plants: regulation by differential accumulation of transcripts for the biosynthetic enzymes. Plant J 12: 1151–1162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Vahala J, Schlagnhaufer CD, Pell EJ (1998) Induction of an ACC synthase cDNA by ozone in light-grown Arabidopsis thaliana leaves. Physiol Plant 103: 45–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wenzel AA, Schlautmann H, Jones CA, Kuppers K, Mehlhorn (1995) Aminoethoxyvinylglycine, cobalt and ascorbic acid all reduce ozone toxicity in mung bean by inhibition of ethylene biosynthesis. Physiol Plant 93: 286–290Google Scholar
  38. Yang SF, Hoffman NE (1984) Ethylene biosynthesis and its regulation in higher plants. Annu Rev Plant Physiol 35: 155–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer -Verlag Tokyo 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nobuyoshi Nakajima
    • 1
  1. 1.Biodiversity Conservation Research ProjectNational Institute for Environmental StudiesTsukuba, IbarakiJapan

Personalised recommendations