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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Mar 15;91(6):2329-33.

Lipid-derived signals that discriminate wound- and pathogen-responsive isoprenoid pathways in plants: methyl jasmonate and the fungal elicitor arachidonic acid induce different 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase genes and antimicrobial isoprenoids in Solanum tuberosum L.

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  • 1Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Induction of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase (HMGR; EC is essential for the synthesis of steroid derivatives and sesquiterpenoid phytoalexins in solanaceous plants following mechanical injury or pathogen infection. Gene-specific probes corresponding to different HMGR genes (hmg1 and hmg2) were used to study HMGR expression in potato tissue following treatment with methyl jasmonate, a lipoxygenase product of linolenic acid, or arachidonic acid, an elicitor present in the lipids of the potato late blight fungus Phytophthora infestans. Treatment of potato discs (2.2 cm in diameter) with low concentrations (0.45-45 nmol per disc surface) of methyl jasmonate nearly doubled the wound-induced accumulation of hmg1 transcripts and steroid-glycoalkaloid (SGA) accumulation, reduced the abundance of hmg2 transcripts, and did not induce phytoalexins. High concentrations of methyl jasmonate (2-4.5 mol per disc surface) suppressed hmg1 mRNA and SGA accumulation but did not affect hmg2 mRNA abundance or induce phytoalexins. In contrast, arachidonate treatment strongly suppressed hmg1 and strongly induced hmg2 mRNA in a concentration-dependent manner. There was a corresponding suppression of SGA accumulation and an induction of sesquiterpene phytoalexin accumulation by this elicitor. Lipoxygenase inhibitors reduced the wound-induced accumulation of hmg1 transcripts and suppressed SGA levels, effects that were overcome by exogenous methyl jasmonate (45 nmol per disc surface). The results (i) suggest that methyl jasmonate can function as a signal for hmg1 expression and SGA induction following wounding and (ii) indicate that the arachidonate- and jasmonate-response pathways are distinct in relation to HMGR gene expression and isoprenoid product accumulation. The results also are consistent with placement of the HMGR activities encoded by hmg1 and hmg2 within discrete steroid and sesquiterpenoid biosynthetic channels.

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