Phytomelatonin: a review.
Journal: 2009/March - Journal of Experimental Botany
ISSN: 1460-2431
Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine) has been detected in a number of plant species. Indeed, there exists evidence that this classically-considered animal indole is actually both synthesized in and taken up by plants. Among the actions that melatonin may carry out in plant tissues, its role as an antioxidant or growth promoter is most strongly supported by the experimental evidence. Other suggested functional implications include the co-ordination of photoperiodic responses and regulation of plant reproductive physiology, defence of plant cells against apoptosis induced by harsh environmental conditions, its participation as a free radical scavenging agent and/or up-regulator of certain protective enzymes in the senescent process. This review presents a detailed summary of the investigations that have been performed to date in the plant melatonin (phytomelatonin) field. The purpose of this summary is to bring the reader up to date on what is known about melatonin in plants and to encourage plant scientists to investigate this novel research topic; this would certainly assist in solving the numerous questions that still remain regarding the role of melatonin in plants.
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