A systematic simulation of the effect of salicylic acid on sphingolipid metabolism
The phytohormone salicylic acid (SA) affects plant development and defense responses. Recent studies revealed that SA is also involved in the regulation of sphingolipid metabolism, but the details of this regulation remain to be explored. Here, we use in silico Flux Balance Analysis (FBA) with published microarray data to construct a whole-cell simulation model, including 23 pathways, 259 reactions and 172 metabolites, to predict the alterations in flux of major sphingolipid species after treatment with exogenous SA. This model predicts significant changes in fluxes of certain sphingolipid species after SA treatment, changes that likely trigger downstream physiological and phenotypic effects. To validate the simulation, we used isotopic non-stationary metabolic flux analysis to measure sphingolipid contents and turnover rate in Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings treated with SA or the SA analog benzothiadiazole (BTH). The results show that both SA and BTH affect sphingolipid metabolism by not only concentration of certain species, but also the optimal flux distribution and turnover rate of sphingolipid contents. Our strategy allows us to formally estimate sphingolipid fluxes on a short time scale and gives us a systemic view of the effect of SA on sphingolipid homeostasis.
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