Tenuazonic acid from Stemphylium loti inhibits the plant plasma membrane H+-ATPase by a mechanism involving the C-terminal regulatory domain

Peter K. Bjørk, Silas A. Rasmussen, Sisse K. Gjetting, Nanna W. Havshøi, Thomas Isbrandt Petersen, Johan Ø. Ipsen, Thomas O. Larsen, Anja T. Fuglsang*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Pathogenic fungi often target the plant plasma membrane (PM) H+-ATPase during infection. To identify pathogenic compounds targeting plant H+-ATPases, we screened extracts from 10 Stemphylium species for their effect on H+-ATPase activity. We identified Stemphylium loti extracts as potential H+-ATPase inhibitors, and through chemical separation and analysis, we identified tenuazonic acid (TeA) as a potent H+-ATPase inhibitor. By assaying ATP hydrolysis and H+ pumping, we confirmed TeA as a H+-ATPase inhibitor both in vitro and in vivo. To visualize in planta inhibition of the H+-ATPase, we treated pH-sensing Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings with TeA and quantified apoplastic alkalization. TeA affected both ATPase hydrolysis and H+ pumping, supporting a direct effect on the H+-ATPase. We demonstrated apoplastic alkalization of Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings after short-term TeA treatment, indicating that TeA effectively inhibits plant PM H+-ATPase in planta. TeA-induced inhibition was highly dependent on the regulatory C-terminal domain of the plant H+-ATPase. Stemphylium loti is a phytopathogenic fungus. Inhibiting the plant PM H+-ATPase results in membrane potential depolarization and eventually necrosis. The corresponding fungal H+-ATPase, PMA1, is less affected by TeA when comparing native preparations. Fungi are thus able to target an essential plant enzyme without causing self-toxicity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)770-784
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Fusicoccin
  • Phytotoxin
  • Plasma membrane H+-ATPase
  • Stemphylium loti
  • Tenuazonic acid

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