Glycation is the non-enzymatic reaction of sugars with proteins to form advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs). AGEs cross-link and inhibit proteins, and in humans, is one of the major causes for diabetes-associated complications. Due to their stable nature.
While glycation is known to trigger defense mechanisms in animals, little is known about the role of glycation in the regulation of defense responses in plants. My lab has shown the presence of specific early and advanced glycation products in response to stress and diurnal variation in Arabidopsis leaf extracts, linking carbohydrate associated protein modifications to underlying physiological processes (Bechtold et al 2009).
In a Leverhulme Trust funded research project, we have identified 124 common targets across different stress treatments, providing a baseline of protein glycation. In addition, treatment specific targets were identified, especially under drought stress (Chaplin et al 2018). Furthermore, we have shown that glycated peptides trigger the production of H2O2 in different subcellular compartements potentially leading to oxidative damage and changes in gene expression. We are currently investigating the downstream signalling pathway triggered in response to glycated peptides.