Biochemistry, Department of


Date of this Version



Zhang L and Becker DF (2015) Connecting proline metabolism and signaling pathways in plant senescence. Front. Plant Sci. 6:552. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2015.00552


Copyright © 2015 Zhang and Becker.This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. Used by permission.


The amino acid proline has a unique biological role in stress adaptation. Proline metabolism is manipulated under stress by multiple and complex regulatory pathways and can profoundly influence cell death and survival in microorganisms, plants, and animals. Though the effects of proline are mediated by diverse signaling pathways, a common theme appears to be the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) due to proline oxidation being coupled to the respiratory electron transport chain. Considerable research has been devoted to understand how plants exploit proline metabolism in response to abiotic and biotic stress. Here, we review potential mechanisms by which proline metabolism influences plant senescence, namely in the petal and leaf. Recent studies of petal senescence suggest proline content is manipulated to meet energy demands of senescing cells. In the flower and leaf, proline metabolism may influence ROS signaling pathways that delay senescence progression. Future studies focusing on the mechanisms by which proline metabolic shifts occur during senescence may lead to novel methods to rescue crops under stress and to preserve post-harvest agricultural products.