Browse Articles

Article|11 Jan 2023|OPEN
Effect of the biosynthesis of the volatile compound phenylacetaldehyde on chloroplast modifications in tea (Camellia sinensis) plants
Lanting Zeng1,2,3 ,† , Xiaochen Zhou1,2,3 ,† , Xiumin Fu1,2,3 , Yilong Hu1,2,3 , Dachuan Gu1,2,3 , Xingliang Hou1,2,3 , Fang Dong4 , Ziyin Yang,1,2,3 ,
1Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Applied Botany & Key Laboratory of South China Agricultural Plant Molecular Analysis and Genetic Improvement, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 723 Xingke Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou 510650, China
2South China National Botanical Garden, No. 723 Xingke Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou 510650, China
3University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 19A Yuquan Road, Beijing 100049, China
4Guangdong Food and Drug Vocational College, No. 321 Longdongbei Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou 510520, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:
Both authors contributed equally to the study.

Horticulture Research 10,
Article number: uhad003 (2023)
Views: 245

Received: 27 May 2022
Accepted: 05 Jan 2023
Published online: 11 Jan 2023


Plant volatile compounds have important physiological and ecological functions. Phenylacetaldehyde (PAld), a volatile phenylpropanoid/benzenoid, accumulates in the leaves of tea (Camellia sinensis) plants grown under continuous shading. This study was conducted to determine whether PAld production is correlated with light and to elucidate the physiological functions of PAld in tea plants. Specifically, the upstream mechanism modulating PAld biosynthesis in tea plants under different light conditions as well as the effects of PAld on chloroplast/chlorophyll were investigated. The biosynthesis of PAld was inhibited under light, whereas it was induced in darkness. The structural gene encoding aromatic amino acid aminotransferase 1 (CsAAAT1) was expressed at a high level in darkness, consistent with its importance for PAld accumulation. Additionally, the results of a transcriptional activation assay and an electrophoretic mobility shift assay indicated CsAAAT1 expression was slightly activated by phytochrome-interacting factor 3-2 (CsPIF3-2), which is a light-responsive transcription factor. Furthermore, PAld might promote the excitation of chlorophyll in dark-treated chloroplasts and mediate electron energy transfer in cells. However, the accumulated PAld can degrade chloroplasts and chlorophyll, with potentially detrimental effects on photosynthesis. Moreover, PAld biosynthesis is inhibited in tea leaves by red and blue light, thereby decreasing the adverse effects of PAld on chloroplasts during daytime. In conclusion, the regulated biosynthesis of PAld in tea plants under light and in darkness leads to chloroplast modifications. The results of this study have expanded our understanding of the biosynthesis and functions of volatile phenylpropanoids/benzenoids in tea leaves.