Jasmonic acid induces rapid changes in carbon transport and partitioning in Populus


Author for correspondence: Benjamin A. Babst Tel: +1 617 627 2758 Fax: +1 617 627 3805 Email:


  • • Here, we tested whether rapid changes in carbohydrate transport and partitioning to storage organs would be induced by jasmonic acid (JA), a plant-produced signal of herbivore attack known to induce resistance.
  • • Carbon-11, introduced as 11CO2, was used to track real-time carbohydrate transport and partitioning nondestructively in Populus species before and 12 h after application of JA to a single leaf.
  • • Jasmonic acid resulted in more rapid [11C]-photosynthate export from both local and systemic leaves, as well as greater partitioning of [11C]-photosynthate to the stem and roots. In Populus tremuloides, following JA treatment, leaf starch decreased, but there was no change in photosynthetic rates or leaf soluble sugar concentration, indicating that recent photosynthate was diverted from starch accumulation in the leaf to other plant organs.
  • • Increasing the supply of photosynthate to roots and stems may shield resources from folivorous predators, and may also facilitate both storage and nutrient uptake, and ultimately lead to greater tolerance, either by enhancing regrowth capacity or by replacing nutrients consumed by herbivores.