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Partitioning of New Carbon as 11C in Nicotiana tabacum Reveals Insight into Methyl Jasmonate Induced Changes in Metabolism

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Abstract

We examined the timeline by which methyl jasmonate (MeJA) reprograms new carbon partitioning into key metabolite pools. The radioactive isotope 11C (t1/2 20.4 min), administered to intact leaves of Nicotiana tabacum L. (cv Samsun) as 11CO2 gas enabled us to measure changes in new carbon partitioning into soluble sugar and amino acid pools of [11C]photosynthate. A 500 μM MeJA treatment resulted in a decrease in the [11C]soluble sugar pool and an increase in the [11C]amino acid pool after 4 h. This pattern was more pronounced 15 h after treatment. We also examined the timeline for 11C-partitioning into aromatic amino acid metabolites of the shikimate pathway. [11C]Tyrosine, [11C]phenylalanine and [11C]tryptophan were elevated 1.5-fold, 12-fold and 12-fold, respectively, relative to controls, 4 h after MeJA treatment, while endogeneous pools were unchanged. This suggests that only new carbon is utilized during early stages of defense induction. By 15 h, [11C]tyrosine and [11C]phenylalanine returned to baseline while [11C]tryptophan was elevated 30-fold, suggesting that MeJA exerts selective control over the shikimate pathway. Finally, we measured trans-cinnamic acid levels as a gauge of downstream phenolic metabolism. Levels were unchanged 4 h after MeJA treatment relative to controls, but were increased 2-fold by 15 h, indicating a lag in response of secondary metabolism.

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Acknowledgements

This research was supported in part by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Biological and Environmental Research under contract DE–AC02–98CH10886, in part by the National Research Initiative of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, under grant 2007-35302-18351, and by German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst = DAAD), Bonn, which supported N. Hanik and M. Best.

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Correspondence to Richard A. Ferrieri.

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Hanik, N., Gómez, S., Best, M. et al. Partitioning of New Carbon as 11C in Nicotiana tabacum Reveals Insight into Methyl Jasmonate Induced Changes in Metabolism. J Chem Ecol 36, 1058–1067 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10886-010-9835-x

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