Defense Priming and Jasmonates: A Role for Free Fatty Acids in Insect Elicitor-Induced Long Distance Signaling




Li, Ting
Cofer, Tristan
Engelberth, Marie
Engelberth, Jurgen

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Green leaf volatiles (GLV) prime plants against insect herbivore attack resulting in stronger and faster signaling by jasmonic acid (JA). In maize this response is specifically linked to insect elicitor (IE)-induced signaling processes, which cause JA accumulation not only around the damage site, but also in distant tissues, presumably through the activation of electrical signals. Here, we present additional data further characterizing these distal signaling events in maize. Also, we describe how exposure to GLV increases free fatty acid (fFA) levels in maize seedlings, but also in other plants, and how increased fFA levels affect IE-induced JA accumulation. Increased fFA, in particular α-linolenic acid (LnA), caused a significant increase in JA accumulation after IE treatment, while JA induced by mechanical wounding (MW) alone was not affected. We also identified treatments that significantly decreased certain fFA level including simulated wind and rain. In such treated plants, IE-induced JA accumulation was significantly reduced when compared to un-moved control plants, while MW-induced JA accumulation was not significantly affected. Since only IE-induced JA accumulation was altered by changes in the fFA composition, we conclude that changing levels of fFA affect primarily IE-induced signaling processes rather than serving as a substrate for JA.



jasmonic acid, green leaf volatiles, free fatty acids, linolenic acid, palmitoleic acid, plant volatiles, signaling, insect elicitor


Plants 5 (1): 5 (2016)


Integrative Biology
Earth and Planetary Sciences