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J Chem Ecol. 2014 Jul;40(7):657-75. doi: 10.1007/s10886-014-0468-3. Epub 2014 Jun 28.

Jasmonate-triggered plant immunity.

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Department of Energy-Plant Research Laboratory, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, 48824, USA.


The plant hormone jasmonate (JA) exerts direct control over the production of chemical defense compounds that confer resistance to a remarkable spectrum of plant-associated organisms, ranging from microbial pathogens to vertebrate herbivores. The underlying mechanism of JA-triggered immunity (JATI) can be conceptualized as a multi-stage signal transduction cascade involving: i) pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) that couple the perception of danger signals to rapid synthesis of bioactive JA; ii) an evolutionarily conserved JA signaling module that links fluctuating JA levels to changes in the abundance of transcriptional repressor proteins; and iii) activation (de-repression) of transcription factors that orchestrate the expression of myriad chemical and morphological defense traits. Multiple negative feedback loops act in concert to restrain the duration and amplitude of defense responses, presumably to mitigate potential fitness costs of JATI. The convergence of diverse plant- and non-plant-derived signals on the core JA module indicates that JATI is a general response to perceived danger. However, the modular structure of JATI may accommodate attacker-specific defense responses through evolutionary innovation of PRRs (inputs) and defense traits (outputs). The efficacy of JATI as a defense strategy is highlighted by its capacity to shape natural populations of plant attackers, as well as the propensity of plant-associated organisms to subvert or otherwise manipulate JA signaling. As both a cellular hub for integrating informational cues from the environment and a common target of pathogen effectors, the core JA module provides a focal point for understanding immune system networks and the evolution of chemical diversity in the plant kingdom.

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