Physiology of L-carnitine in plants in light of the knowledge in animals and microorganisms

Abstract : L-carnitine is present in all living kingdoms where it acts in diverse physiological processes. It is involved in lipid metabolism in animals and yeasts, notably as an essential cofactor of fatty acid intracellular trafficking. Its physiological significance is poorly understood in plants, but L-carnitine may be linked to fatty acid metabolism among other roles. Indeed, carnitine transferases activities and acylcarnitines are measured in plant tissues. Current knowledge of fatty acid trafficking in plants rules out acylcarnitines as intermediates of the peroxisomal and mitochondrial fatty acid metabolism, unlike in animals and yeasts. Instead, acylcarnitines could be involved in plastidial exportation of de novo fatty acid, or importation of fatty acids into the ER, for synthesis of specific glycerolipids. L-carnitine also contributes to cellular maintenance though antioxidant and osmolyte properties in animals and microbes. Recent data indicate similar features in plants, together with modulation of signaling pathways. The biosynthesis of L-carnitine in the plant cell shares similar precursors as in the animal and yeast cells. The elucidation of the biosynthesis pathway of L-carnitine, and the identification of the enzymes involved, is today essential to progress further in the comprehension of its biological significance in plants.
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Florian Jacques, Sonia Rippa, Yolande Perrin. Physiology of L-carnitine in plants in light of the knowledge in animals and microorganisms. Plant Science, Elsevier, 2018, 274, pp.432-440. ⟨10.1016/j.plantsci.2018.06.020⟩. ⟨hal-01988896⟩

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