Methyl jasmonate elicits rapid changes in carbon and nitrogen dynamics in tomato

New Phytol. 2010 Nov;188(3):835-44. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2010.03414.x. Epub 2010 Aug 13.


• Evidence is emerging to support the notion that in response to herbivory, plants undergo changes in their primary metabolism and are able to fine-tune the allocation of new and existing resources and temporarily direct them to storage organs. • We hypothesized that simulated herbivory increases the export of resources out of the affected tissues and increases allocation to roots. We used short-lived radioisotopes to study in vivo the dynamics of newly incorporated (11)CO(2) and (13)NH(3). Methyl jasmonate (MeJA), a known defense elicitor, was applied to the foliage of tomato plants and 4 h later we monitored leaf uptake, export and whole-plant allocation of [(11)C]photosynthate and [(13)N]amino acids. • There was a marginally significant decrease in the fixation of (11)CO(2), and an increase in the export of newly acquired carbon and nitrogen out of MeJA-treated leaves. The proportion of nitrogen allocated to roots increased, whereas the proportion of carbon did not change. • These results are in agreement with our hypotheses, showing a change in the allocation of resources after treatment with MeJA; this may reduce the chance of resources being lost to herbivores and act as a buffer to biotic stress by increasing the potential for plant regrowth and survival after the attack.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetates*
  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Carbon / metabolism*
  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism
  • Carbon Isotopes / metabolism
  • Cyclopentanes*
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / metabolism*
  • Nitrogen / metabolism*
  • Nitrogen Isotopes / metabolism
  • Oxylipins*
  • Plant Diseases*
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plant Roots / metabolism
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Stress, Physiological


  • Acetates
  • Amino Acids
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Cyclopentanes
  • Nitrogen Isotopes
  • Oxylipins
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Carbon
  • methyl jasmonate
  • Nitrogen