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Regulation of extrafloral nectar secretion by jasmonates in lima bean is light dependent

Venkatesan Radhika, Christian Kost, Axel Mithöfer and Wilhelm Boland
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 107, No. 40 (October 5, 2010), pp. 17228-17233
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20779945
Page Count: 6
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Regulation of extrafloral nectar secretion by jasmonates in lima bean is light dependent
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Abstract

To maximize fitness, plants need to perceive changes in their light environment and adjust their physiological responses accordingly. Whether and how such changes also affect the regulation of their defense responses against herbivores remains largely unclear. We addressed this issue by studying the secretion of extrafloral nectar (EFN) in lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus), which is known to be activated by the phytohormone jasmonic acid (JA) and functions as an indirect defense mechanism against herbivores. We found that the plant's EFN secretion in response to JA was light dependent: In the dark, JA reduced EFN secretion, whereas under light conditions, JA induced EFN secretion relative to controls. This modulation was affected by the light's spectral composition [i.e., ratio of red to far-red (R:FR) radiation], but not light intensity. These findings demonstrate a unique differential effect of JA on EFN secretion depending on the ambient light conditions. Interestingly, treatment with the isoleucine—JA conjugate (JA—Ile) enhanced EFN secretion under light conditions yet did not reduce EFN secretion in the dark. Moreover, inhibition of Ile biosynthesis in light-exposed plants significantly decreased the EFN secretion rate. This reduction could be recovered by additional application of JA—Ile, suggesting that JA—Ile is the active compound required to up-regulate EFN secretion. Finally, experiments with mechanically damaged plants revealed that light was required for the formation of JA—Ile, but not of JA. These results demonstrate that in lima bean, the light environment modulates the plant's response to jasmonates as well as JA—Ile biosynthesis, which controls the subsequent EFN secretion.

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