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Ectopic Expression of AtJMT in Nicotiana attenuata: Creating a Metabolic Sink Has Tissue-Specific Consequences for the Jasmonate Metabolic Network and Silences Downstream Gene Expression

Stitz, Michael, Gase, Klaus, Baldwin, Ian T., Gaquerel, Emmanuel
Plant physiology 2011 v.157 no.1 pp. 341-354
Arabidopsis thaliana, Manduca sexta, Nicotiana, biosynthesis, gene expression, gene silencing, genes, jasmonic acid, methyl jasmonate, petioles, secretion, transgenic plants, trypsin inhibitors
To create a metabolic sink in the jasmonic acid (JA) pathway, we generated transgenic Nicotiana attenuata lines ectopically expressing Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) jasmonic acid O-methyltransferase (35S-jmt) and additionally silenced in other lines the N. attenuata methyl jasmonate esterase (35S-jmt/ir-mje) to reduce the deesterification of methyl jasmonate (MeJA). Basal jasmonate levels did not differ between transgenic and wild-type plants; however, after wounding and elicitation with Manduca sexta oral secretions, the bursts of JA, jasmonoyl-isoleucine (JA-Ile), and their metabolites that are normally observed in the lamina, midvein, and petiole of elicited wild-type leaves were largely absent in both transformants but replaced by a burst of endogenous MeJA that accounted for almost half of the total elicited jasmonate pools. In these plants, MeJA became a metabolic sink that affected the jasmonate metabolic network and its spread to systemic leaves, with major effects on 12-oxo-phytodieonic acid, JA, and hydroxy-JA in petioles and on JA-Ile in laminas. Alterations in the size of jasmonate pools were most obvious in systemic tissues, especially petioles. Expression of threonine deaminase and trypsin proteinase inhibitor, two JA-inducible defense genes, was strongly decreased in both transgenic lines without influencing the expression of JA biosynthesis genes that were uncoupled from the wounding and elicitation with M. sexta oral secretions-elicited JA-Ile gradient in elicited leaves. Taken together, this study provides support for a central role of the vasculature in the propagation of jasmonates and new insights into the versatile spatiotemporal characteristics of the jasmonate metabolic network.