Transport of Salicylic Acid and Related Compounds

  • J.-L. BonnemainEmail author
  • J.-F. Chollet
  • F. Rocher


Various stresses promote SA accumulation. SA is in part conjugated in the cytoplasm to inactive compounds such as salicylic acid O-β-glucoside (SAG) or modified to active compounds such as methylsalicylate (MeSA). SAG is sequestered in the vacuole by an ATP-binding cassette transporter mechanism or an H+-antiporter mechanism. Free SA is mobile and can be transported within the plant, mainly via the phloem. SA molecules found in the phloem sap may come from the synthesis area via the symplastic route in symplastic loaders or may be taken up from the phloem apoplast (apoplastic loaders). In this latter case, SA must cross the plasma membrane of the companion cell-sieve cell complex. Similarly, synthetic derivatives or analogs applied to the foliage to enhance plant defence must cross at least once the plasma membrane before reaching the sieve tubes. The ability of molecules to diffuse through the plasma membrane is dependent on their chemical properties (size of the molecule, Log D, polar surface area, number of hydrogen bond donors). On these bases, the discrepancies between the computed predictions of phloem mobility of SA and various analogs and the actual results, as well as the effect of pCMBS on uptake suggest that SA transport involves a pH-dependent carrier system in addition to the ion trap mechanism, at least in the cotyledons of Ricinus communis. Although SA levels increase in both the phloem and systemic leaves after mature leaf infection, this salicylate is clearly not the primary systemic signal which contributes to SAR. Several data strongly suggest that MeSA as well as azelaic acid and small lipids are earlier signals. As MeSA is predicted to be very poorly phloem mobile, the mechanism of long distance transport of this volatile compound remains to be elucidated.


Salicylic acid Salicylic acid metabolites Salicylic acid analogs Cell compartmentation Long distance transport Ricinus model Diffusion predictors 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire Écologie et Biologie des InteractionsUniversité de Poitiers, Unité Mixte de Recherche CNRS 7267Poitiers cedexFrance
  2. 2.Institut de Chimie des Milieux et des Matériaux de PoitiersUniversité de Poitiers, Unité Mixte de Recherche CNRS 7285Poitiers cedexFrance

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