The secret Behaviors of Plant Specialized Metabolites
Plants are exceptional chemical factories with specialized metabolism providing a rapidly evolving assortment of small molecules that assist plants in coping with the environment. Flavonoids comprise one large group of specialized metabolites. Among a number of other projects, for the past few decades my lab has been investigating favonoid biosynthesis and regulation, how flavonoid pigments are transported within cells, and the function of flavonoids in the biology of plants, as well as how (some) confer health benefits to animals. In the course of these studies, we stumbled across several examples of flavonoid pathway intermediates playing unexpected regultory functions that impact plant development and metabolism. I will describe findings, primarily in maize and Arabidopsis, that reveal unexpected roles of flavonoids in the fine tuning of important cellular processes.