Methanol is a frequently used solvent, and a volatile organic compound (VOC) released from plant cell walls through the action of pectin methylesterases. Tran et al. show that cell wall-produced methanol is a signal in plant immunity and interplant communication.
This VOC is able to effectively induce a rapid signalling process dependent on reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and cytosolic Ca2+ variations. These lead to plant responses to pathogens such as plasma membrane depolarization through anion channel regulation and ethylene synthesis.
Tran, D., Dauphin, A., Meimoun, P., Kadono, T., Nguyen, H. T. H., Arbelet-Bonnin, D., … Bouteau, F. (2018). Methanol induces cytosolic calcium variations, membrane depolarization and ethylene production in arabidopsis and tobacco. Annals of Botany. https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcy038