Evolutionary changes in defensive specialized metabolism in the genus Hordeum

Naoki Ube, Miho Nishizaka, Tsuyoshi Ichiyanagi, Kotomi Ueno, Shin Taketa, Atsushi Ishihara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Plants have developed defensive specialized metabolites over the course of evolution. In the genus Hordeum, which includes the important cereal crop barley, specialized metabolites such as hordatines, benzoxazinones, and gramine have been identified. Hordeum species are classified into four clades, H, Xu, Xa, and I. The presence or absence of defensive specialized metabolites was analyzed in representative Hordeum species that included all of the four clades. In the H clade, Hordeum vulgare accumulated hordatines but not benzoxazinones, whereas H. bulbosum accumulated neither compound. Some accessions in the H clade accumulated gramine. Species in the clades I and Xa accumulated benzoxazinones without hordatines. In H. murinum, a Xu clade species, neither hordatines nor benzoxazinones were detected. Two hitherto undescribed compounds were found to commonly accumulate in H. bulbosum in the H clade and H. murinum in the Xu clade. On the basis of spectroscopic analyses, they were identified as dehydrodimers of feruloylagmatine and were designated murinamides A and B. Radical coupling reactions with feruloylagmatine as a substrate by peroxidase afforded murinamides A and B. These compounds showed antifungal activities against Bipolaris sorokiniana and Fusarium asiaticum, indicating their defensive roles. Because hordatines are also dehydrodimers of hydroxycinnamic acid amides (HCAAs) of agmatine, both the H and Xu clade species are considered to accumulate the same class of compounds. Thus, when the H/Xu clades split from the I/Xa clades during evolution, the defensive metabolites shifted from benzoxazinones to dehydrodimers of agmatine HCAAs plus gramine in the H/Xu clades.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017


  • Benzoxazinones
  • Gramine
  • Hordatines
  • Hordeum
  • Hordeum murinum
  • Hydroxycinnamic acid amide dimer
  • Murinamides
  • Poaceae
  • Specialized metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Plant Science
  • Horticulture


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