Salicylic acid-induced ROS production by mitochondrial electron transport chain depends on the activity of mitochondrial hexokinases in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.)

Péter Poór, Gábor Patyi, Zoltán Takács, A. Szekeres, Nikolett Bódi, Mária Bagyánszki, I. Tari

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3 Citations (Scopus)


The growth regulator, salicylic acid (SA) plays an important role in the induction of cell death in plants. Production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by mitochondrial electron transport chain (mtETC), cytochrome c (cyt c) release from mitochondria and loss of mitochondrial integrity can be observed during cell death execution in plant tissues. The aim of this work was to study the putative role of hexokinases (HXKs) in the initiation of cell death using tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) leaves and mitochondria isolated from plants exposed to a sublethal, 0.1 mM and a cell death-inducing, 1 mM concentrations of SA. Both treatments enhanced ROS and nitric oxide (NO) production in the leaves, which contributed to a concentration-dependent loss of membrane integrity. Images prepared by transmission electron microscopy showed swelling and disorganisation of mitochondrial cristae and vacuolization of mitochondria after SA exposure. Using post-embedding immunohistochemistry, cyt c release from mitochondria was also detected after 1 mM SA treatment. Both SA treatments decreased the activity and transcript levels of HXKs in the leaves and the total mtHXK activity in the mitochondrial fraction. The role of mitochondrial hexokinases (mtHXKs) in ROS and NO production of isolated mitochondria was investigated by the addition of HXK substrate, glucose (Glc) and a specific HXK inhibitor, N-acetylglucosamine (NAG) to the mitochondrial suspension. Both SA treatments enhanced ROS production by mtETC in the presence of succinate and ADP, which was slightly inhibited by Glc and increased significantly by NAG in control and in 0.1 mM SA-treated mitochondria. These changes were not significant at 1 mM SA, which caused disorganisation of mitochondrial membranes. Thus the inhibition of mtHXK activity can contribute to the mitochondrial ROS production, but it is not involved in NO generation in SA-treated leaf mitochondria suggesting that SA can promote cell death by suppressing mtHXK transcription and activity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Plant Research
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Cytochrome c
  • Glucose
  • Hexokinase
  • Mitochondria
  • Salicylic acid
  • Tomato

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science

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