Connecting proline metabolism and signaling pathways in plant senescence

Lu Zhang, Donald F. Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number552
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Issue numberJULY
StatePublished - Jul 22 2015


  • <sup>1</sup>Δ-pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthetase
  • Plant senescence
  • Proline
  • Proline dehydrogenase
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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