Phytomelatonin: An Emerging Regulator of Plant Biotic Stress Resistance

Dake Zhao, Houping Wang, Suiyun Chen, Diqiu Yu, Russel J. Reiter

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Melatonin has diverse functions in plant development and stress tolerance, with recent evidence showing a beneficial role in plant biotic stress tolerance. It has been hypothesized that pathogenic invasion causes the immediate generation of melatonin, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and reactive nitrogen species (RNS), with these being mutually dependent, forming the integrative melatonin–ROS–RNS feedforward loop. Here we discuss how the loop, possibly located in the mitochondria and chloroplasts, maximizes disease resistance in the early pathogen ingress stage, providing on-site protection. We also review how melatonin interacts with phytohormone signaling pathways to mediate defense responses and discuss the evolutionary context from the beginnings of the melatonin receptor–mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade in unicellular green algae, followed by the occurrence of phytohormone pathways in land plants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-82
Number of pages13
JournalTrends in Plant Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • MAPK cascade
  • evolution
  • melatonin receptor
  • melatonin–ROS–RNS loop
  • phytohormone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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