Attractive but Toxic: Emerging Roles of Glycosidically Bound Volatiles and Glycosyltransferases Involved in Their Formation
Chuankui Song, Katja Härtl, Kate McGraphery, Thomas Hoffmann, Wilfried Schwab*
Plants emit an overabundance of volatile compounds, which act in their producers either as appreciated attractants to lure beneficial animals or as repellent toxins to deter pests in a species-specific and concentration-dependent manner. Plants have evolved solutions to provide sufficient volatiles without poisoning themselves. Uridine-diphosphate sugar-dependent glycosyltransferases (UGTs) acting on volatiles is one important part of this sophisticated system, which balances the levels of bioactive metabolites and prepares them for cellular and long-distance transport and storage but enables the remobilization of disarmed toxins for the benefit of plant protection. This review provides an overview of the research history of glycosidically bound volatiles (GBVs), a relatively new group of plant secondary metabolites, and discusses the role of UGTs in the production of GBVs for plant protection.