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Wasternack, C.; Song, S.; Jasmonates: biosynthesis, metabolism, and signaling by proteins activating and repressing transciption J. Exp. Bot. 68, 1303-1321, (2017) DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erw443

The lipid-derived phytohormone jasmonate (JA) regulates plant growth, development, secondary metabolism, defense against insect attack and pathogen infection, and tolerance to abiotic stresses such as wounding, UV light, salt, and drought. JA was first identified in 1962, and since the 1980s many studies have analyzed the physiological functions, biosynthesis, distribution, metabolism, perception, signaling, and crosstalk of JA, greatly expanding our knowledge of the hormone’s action. In response to fluctuating environmental cues and transient endogenous signals, the occurrence of multilayered organization of biosynthesis and inactivation of JA, and activation and repression of the COI1–JAZ-based perception and signaling contributes to the fine-tuning of JA responses. This review describes the JA biosynthetic enzymes in terms of gene families, enzymatic activity, location and regulation, substrate specificity and products, the metabolic pathways in converting JA to activate or inactivate compounds, JA signaling in perception, and the co-existence of signaling activators and repressors.

Wasternack, C.; Hause, B.; OPDA-Ile – a new JA-Ile-independent signal? Plant Signal Behav. 11, e1253646, (2016) DOI: 10.1080/15592324.2016.1253646

Expression takes place for most of the jasmonic acid (JA)-induced genes in a COI1-dependent manner via perception of its conjugate JA-Ile in the SCFCOI1-JAZ co-receptor complex. There are, however, numerous genes and processes, which are preferentially induced COI1-independently by the precursor of JA, 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (OPDA). After recent identification of the Ile-conjugate of OPDA, OPDA-Ile, biological activity of this compound could be unequivocally proven in terms of gene expression. Any interference of OPDA, JA, or JA-Ile in OPDA-Ile-induced gene expression could be excluded by using different genetic background. The data suggest individual signaling properties of OPDA-Ile. Future studies for analysis of an SCFCOI1-JAZ co-receptor-independent route of signaling are proposed.

Wasternack, C.; Goetz, S.; Hellwege, A.; Forner, S.; Strnad, M.; Hause, B.; Another JA/COI1-independent role of OPDA detected in tomato embryo development Plant Signal Behav. 7, 1349-1353, (2012) DOI: 10.4161/psb.21551

Jasmonates (JAs) are ubiquitously occurring signaling compounds in plants formed in response to biotic and abiotic stress as well as in development. (+)-7-iso-jasmonoyl isoleucine, the bioactive JA, is involved in most JA-dependent processes mediated by the F-box protein COI1 in a proteasome-dependent manner. However, there is an increasing number of examples, where the precursor of JA biosynthesis, cis-(+)-12-oxophytodienoic acid (OPDA) is active in a JA/COI1-independent manner. Here, we discuss those OPDA-dependent processes, thereby giving emphasis on tomato embryo development. Recent data on seed coat-generated OPDA and its role in embryo development is discussed based on biochemical and genetic evidences.

Stenzel, I.; Otto, M.; Delker, C.; Kirmse, N.; Schmidt, D.; Miersch, O.; Hause, B.; Wasternack, C.; ALLENE OXIDE CYCLASE (AOC) gene family members of Arabidopsis thaliana: tissue- and organ-specific promoter activities and in vivo heteromerization J. Exp. Bot. 63, 6125-6138, (2012) DOI: 10.1093/jxb/ers261

Jasmonates are important signals in plant stress responses and plant development. An essential step in the biosynthesis of jasmonic acid (JA) is catalysed by ALLENE OXIDE CYCLASE (AOC) which establishes the naturally occurring enantiomeric structure of jasmonates. In Arabidopsis thaliana, four genes encode four functional AOC polypeptides (AOC1, AOC2, AOC3, and AOC4) raising the question of functional redundancy or diversification. Analysis of transcript accumulation revealed an organ-specific expression pattern, whereas detailed inspection of transgenic lines expressing the GUS reporter gene under the control of individual AOC promoters showed partially redundant promoter activities during development: (i) In fully developed leaves, promoter activities of AOC1, AOC2, and AOC3 appeared throughout all leaf tissue, but AOC4 promoter activity was vascular bundle-specific; (ii) only AOC3 and AOC4 showed promoter activities in roots; and (iii) partially specific promoter activities were found for AOC1 and AOC4 in flower development. In situ hybridization of flower stalks confirmed the GUS activity data. Characterization of single and double AOC loss-of-function mutants further corroborates the hypothesis of functional redundancies among individual AOCs due to a lack of phenotypes indicative of JA deficiency (e.g. male sterility). To elucidate whether redundant AOC expression might contribute to regulation on AOC activity level, protein interaction studies using bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) were performed and showed that all AOCs can interact among each other. The data suggest a putative regulatory mechanism of temporal and spatial fine-tuning in JA formation by differential expression and via possible heteromerization of the four AOCs.

Wasternack, C.; Xie, D.; The genuine ligand of a jasmonic acid receptor: Improved analysis of jasmonates is now required Plant Signal Behav. 5, 337-340, (2010) DOI: 10.4161/psb.5.4.11574

Jasmonic acid (JA), its metabolites, such as the methyl ester or amino acid conjugates as well as its precursor 12-oxophytodienoic acid (OPDA) are lipid-derived signals. JA, OPDA and JA-amino acid conjugates are known to function as signals in plant stress responses and development. More recently, formation of JA-amino acid conjugates and high biological activity of JA-Isoleucine (JA-Ile) were found to be essential in JA signalling. A breakthrough was the identification of JAZ proteins which interact with the F-box protein COI1 if JA-Ile is bound. This interaction leads to proteasomal degradation of JAZs being negative regulators of JA-induced transcription. Surprisingly, a distinct stereoisomer of JA-Ile, the (+)-7-iso-JA-Ile ((3R,7S) form) is most active. Coronatine, a bacterial phytotoxine with an identical stereochemistry at the cyclopentanone ring, has a similar bioactivity . This was explained by the recent identification of COI1 as the JA receptor and accords well with molecular modelling studies. Whereas over the last two decades JA was quantified to describe any JA dependent process, now we have to take into account a distinct stereoisomer of JA-Ile. Until recently a quantitative analysis of (+)-7-iso-JA-Ile was missing presumable due to its equilibration to (-)-JA-Ile. Now such an analysis was achieved. These aspects will be discussed based on our new knowledge on JA perception and signalling.

Wasternack, C.; Hause, B.; Emerging complexity: jasmonate-induced volatiles affect parasitoid choice J. Exp. Bot. 60, 2451-2453, (2009) DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erp197


Kienow, L.; Schneider, K.; Bartsch, M.; Stuible, H.-P.; Weng, H.; Miersch, O.; Wasternack, C.; Kombrink, E.; Jasmonates meet fatty acids: functional analysis of a new acyl-coenzyme A synthetase family from Arabidopsis thaliana J. Exp. Bot. 59, 403-419, (2008) DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erm325

Arabidopsis thaliana contains a large number of genes encoding carboxylic acid-activating enzymes, including long-chain fatty acyl-CoA synthetase (LACS), 4-coumarate:CoA ligases (4CL), and proteins closely related to 4CLs with unknown activities. The function of these 4CL-like proteins was systematically explored by applying an extensive substrate screen, and it was uncovered that activation of fatty acids is the common feature of all active members of this protein family, thereby defining a new group of fatty acyl-CoA synthetase, which is distinct from the known LACS family. Significantly, four family members also displayed activity towards different biosynthetic precursors of jasmonic acid (JA), including 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (OPDA), dinor-OPDA, 3-oxo-2(2′-[Z]-pentenyl)cyclopentane-1-octanoic acid (OPC-8), and OPC-6. Detailed analysis of in vitro properties uncovered significant differences in substrate specificity for individual enzymes, but only one protein (At1g20510) showed OPC-8:CoA ligase activity. Its in vivo function was analysed by transcript and jasmonate profiling of Arabidopsis insertion mutants for the gene. OPC-8:CoA ligase expression was activated in response to wounding or infection in the wild type but was undetectable in the mutants, which also exhibited OPC-8 accumulation and reduced levels of JA. In addition, the developmental, tissue- and cell-type specific expression pattern of the gene, and regulatory properties of its promoter were monitored by analysing promoter::GUS reporter lines. Collectively, the results demonstrate that OPC-8:CoA ligase catalyses an essential step in JA biosynthesis by initiating the β-oxidative chain shortening of the carboxylic acid side chain of its precursors, and, in accordance with this function, the protein is localized in peroxisomes.

ten Hoopen, P.; Hunger, A.; Muller, A.; Hause, B.; Kramell, R.; Wasternack, C.; Rosahl, S.; Conrad, U.; Immunomodulation of jasmonate to manipulate the wound response J. Exp. Bot. 58, 2525-2535, (2007) DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erm122

Jasmonates are signals in plant stress responses and development. The exact mode of their action is still controversial. To modulate jasmonate levels intracellularly as well as compartment-specifically, transgenic Nicotiana tabacum plants expressing single-chain antibodies selected against the naturally occurring (3R,7R)-enantiomer of jasmonic acid (JA) were created in the cytosol and the endoplasmic reticulum. Consequently, the expression of anti-JA antibodies in planta caused JA-deficient phenotypes such as insensitivity of germinating transgenic seedlings towards methyl jasmonate and the loss of wound-induced gene expression. Results presented here suggest an essential role for cytosolic JA in the wound response of tobacco plants. The findings support the view that substrate availability takes part in regulating JA biosynthesis upon wounding. Moreover, high JA levels observed in immunomodulated plants in response to wounding suggest that tobacco plants are able to perceive a reduced level of physiologically active JA and attempt to compensate for this by increased JA accumulation.

Weichert, H.; Kohlmann, M.; Wasternack, C.; Feussner, I.; Metabolic profiling of oxylipins upon sorbitol treatment in barley leaves Biochem. Soc. Trans. 28, 861-862, (2001) DOI: 10.1042/bst0280861

In barley leaves 13-lipoxygenases (LOXs) are induced by salicylate and jasmonate. Here, we analyse by metabolic profiling the accumulation of oxylipins upon sorbitol treatment. Although 13-LOX-derived products are formed and specifically directed into the reductase branch of the LOX pathway, accumulation is much later than in the cases of salicylate and jasmonate treatment. In addition, under these conditions only the accumulation of jasmonates as additional products of the LOX pathway has been found.

Weichert, H.; Kolbe, A.; Wasternack, C.; Feussner, I.; Formation of 4-hydroxy-2-alkenals in barley leaves Biochem. Soc. Trans. 28, 850-851, (2000) DOI: 10.1042/bst0280850

In barley leaves 13-lipoxygenases are induced by jasmonates. This leads to induction of lipid peroxidation. Here we show by in vitro studies that these processes may further lead to autoxidative formation of (2E)-4-hydroxy-2-hexenal from (3Z)-hexenal.
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