Plant physiology

Temporal Dynamics of Growth and Photosynthesis Suppression in Response to Jasmonate Signaling.

PMID 24820026


Biotic stress constrains plant productivity in natural and agricultural ecosystems. Repression of photosynthetic genes is a conserved plant response to biotic attack, but how this transcriptional reprogramming is linked to changes in photosynthesis and the transition from growth- to defense-oriented metabolism is poorly understood. Here, we used a combination of noninvasive chlorophyll fluorescence imaging technology and RNA sequencing to determine the effect of the defense hormone jasmonate (JA) on the growth, photosynthetic efficiency, and gene expression of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) rosette leaves. High temporal resolution was achieved through treatment with coronatine (COR), a high-affinity agonist of the JA receptor. We show that leaf growth is rapidly arrested after COR treatment and that this effect is tightly correlated with changes in the expression of genes involved in growth, photosynthesis, and defense. Rapid COR-induced expression of defense genes occurred concomitantly with the repression of photosynthetic genes but was not associated with a reduced quantum efficiency of photosystem II. These findings support the view that photosynthetic capacity is maintained during the period in which stress-induced JA signaling redirects metabolism from growth to defense. Chlorophyll fluorescence images captured in a multiscale time series, however, revealed a transient COR-induced decrease in quantum efficiency of photosystem II at dawn of the day after treatment. Physiological studies suggest that this response results from delayed stomatal opening at the night-day transition. These collective results establish a high-resolution temporal view of how a major stress response pathway modulates plant growth and photosynthesis and highlight the utility of chlorophyll fluorescence imaging for revealing transient stress-induced perturbations in photosynthetic performance.