, 226:541 | Cite as

11C-imaging: methyl jasmonate moves in both phloem and xylem, promotes transport of jasmonate, and of photoassimilate even after proton transport is decoupled

  • Michael R. Thorpe
  • Abigail P. Ferrieri
  • Matthias M. Herth
  • Richard A. Ferrieri
Original Article


The long-distance transport and actions of the phytohormone methyl jasmonate (MeJA) were investigated by using the short-lived positron-emitting isotope 11C to label both MeJA and photoassimilate, and compare their transport properties in the same tobacco plants (Nicotiana tabacum L.). There was strong evidence that MeJA moves in both phloem and xylem pathways, because MeJA was exported from the labeled region of a mature leaf in the direction of phloem flow, but it also moved into other parts of the same leaf and other mature leaves against the direction of phloem flow. This suggests that MeJA enters the phloem and moves in sieve tube sap along with photoassimilate, but that vigorous exchange between phloem and xylem allows movement in xylem to regions which are sources of photoassimilate. This exchange may be enhanced by the volatility of MeJA, which moved readily between non-orthostichous vascular pathways, unlike reports for jasmonic acid (which is not volatile). The phloem loading of MeJA was found to be inhibited by parachloromercuribenzenesulfonic acid (PCMBS) (a thiol reagent known to inhibit membrane transporters), and by protonophores carbonyl cyanide 3-chlorophenylhydrazone (CCCP) and 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP) suggesting proton co-transport. MeJA was found to promote both its own transport and that of recent photoassimilate within 60 min. Furthermore, we found that MeJA can counter the inhibitory effect of the uncoupling agent, CCCP, on sugar transport, suggesting that MeJA affects the plasma membrane proton gradient. We also found that MeJA’s action may extend to the sucrose transporter, since MeJA countered the inhibitory effects of the sulfhydryl reagent, PCMBS, on the transport of photoassimilate.


Methyl jasmonate Carbon-11 11Nicotiana tabacum Phloem loading Phloem transport Plant defenses Sectoriality Sucrose transporters PCMBS CCCP DNP Vascular architecture 



Parachloromercuribenzenesulfonic acid


Carbonyl cyanide 3-chlorophenylhydrazone




Methyl jasmonate 3-oxo-2-[2′-cis-pentyl]-cyclopentane-l-acetate


Grams fresh tissue mass



This research was supported in part by a Laboratory Directed Research Development grant awarded by BNL (to R. Ferrieri), in part by the US Department of Energy, Office of Biological and Environmental Research under contract DE-AC02-98CH10886, and in part by Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), Bonn, for a student fellowship (supporting M. Herth). We thank Michael Schueller for maintenance and operation of the cyclotron to produce the 11C, and acknowledge useful discussions with Colin Orians and Ben Babst.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael R. Thorpe
    • 2
  • Abigail P. Ferrieri
    • 3
  • Matthias M. Herth
    • 4
  • Richard A. Ferrieri
    • 1
  1. 1.Brookhaven National LaboratoryUptonUSA
  2. 2.ICG-III:PhytosphereForschungszentrum JuelichJuelichGermany
  3. 3.College of the Holy CrossWorcesterUSA
  4. 4.Fachbereich ChemieJohannes Gutenberg UniversitätMainzGermany

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