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J Chem Ecol. 2006 Jan;32(1):29-47. Epub 2006 Feb 26.

Constitutive and jasmonate-inducible traits of Datura wrightii.

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  • 1Department of Entomology, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA.


Plants in the family Solanaceae possess numerous traits that are induced from damage from herbivores. Many of these also can be induced by exposing plants to the plant hormone jasmonic acid or its volatile ester methyl jasmonate. Datura wrightii (Solanaceae) is dimorphic for leaf trichome morphology in most southern California populations. Trichome phenotype is governed by a single gene, and the glandular trichome condition is dominant and under developmental control. This study addressed two major objectives. The first was to determine if mature plants with glandular or nonglandular trichomes responded differentially to methyl jasmonate. The second objective was to determine if exposure of seedlings to methyl jasmonate during the period of trichome differentiation altered either the phenotype or the density of trichomes that mature plants expressed. Methyl jasmonate induced from 200 to 800 microg/ml of proteinase inhibitor activity and increased the activity of polyphenol oxidase by more than threefold depending on the experiment. These increases did not differ significantly between plants expressing glandular or nonglandular trichomes. Methyl jasmonate exposure did not increase the activity of peroxidase or the concentration of scopolamine or hyoscyamine, the two major alkaloids of Datura. Exposure to methyl jasmonate during trichome differentiation did not affect either the final trichome phenotype or the density of either type of trichome, but did increase the production of acylsugars in glandular trichomes by 44%. Because trichome phenotype was not inducible, and because both trichome phenotypes showed similar increases in proteinase inhibitors and polyphenol oxidase activity, the methyl-jasmonate-inducible responses of D. wrightii are independent of trichome phenotype in D. wrightii.

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