Jasmonates are a class of oxylipins that induce a wide variety of higher-plant responses. To determine if jasmonates play a role in the regulation of climacteric fruit ripening, the effects of exogenous jasmonates on ethylene biosynthesis and color, as well as the endogenous concentrations of jasmonates were determined during the onset of ripening of apple (Malus domestica Borkh. cv. Golden Delicious) and tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cv. Cobra) fruit. Transient (12 h) treatment of pre-climacteric fruit discs with exogenous jasmonates at low concentration (1 or 10 μM) promoted ethylene biosynthesis and color change in a concentration-dependent fashion. Activities of both 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) oxidase and ACC synthase were stimulated by jasmonate treatments in this concentration range. The endogenous concentration of jasmonates increased transiently prior to the climacteric increase in ethylene biosynthesis during the onset of ripening of both apple and tomato fruit. The onset of tomato fruit ripening was also preceded by an increase in the percentage of the cis-isomer of jasmonic acid. Inhibition of ethylene action by diazocyclopentadiene negated the jasmonate-induced stimulation of ethylene biosynthesis, indicating jasmonates act at least in part via ethylene action. These results suggest jasmonates may play a role together with ethylene in regulating the early steps of climacteric fruit ripening.
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