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Keywords:

  • jasmonic acid;
  • gibberellin;
  • phytohormone interaction;
  • stem elongation;
  • gibberellin biosynthesis;
  • Nicotiana attenuata

Summary

Hormones play pivotal roles in regulating plant development, growth, and stress responses, and cross-talk among different hormones fine-tunes various aspects of plant physiology. Jasmonic acid (JA) is important for plant defense against herbivores and necrotic fungi and also regulates flower development; in addition, Arabidopsis mutants over-producing JA usually have stunted stems and wound-induced jasmonates suppress Arabidopsis growth, suggesting that JA is also involved in stem elongation. Gibberellins (GAs) promote stem and leaf growth and modulate seed germination, flowering time, and the development of flowers, fruits, and seeds. However, little is known about the interaction between the JA and GA pathways. Two calcium-dependent protein kinases, CDPK4 and CDPK5, are important suppressors of JA accumulation in a wild tobacco species, Nicotiana attenuata. The stems of N. attenuata silenced in CDPK4 and CDPK5 (irCDPK4/5 plants) had dramatically increased levels of JA and exhibited stunted elongation and had very high contents of secondary metabolites. Genetic analysis indicated that the high JA levels in irCDPK4/5 stems accounted for the suppressed stem elongation and the accumulation of secondary metabolites. Supplementation of GA3 to irCDPK4/5 plants largely restored normal stem growth to wild-type levels. Measures of GA levels indicated that over-accumulation of JA in irCDPK4/5 stems inhibited the biosynthesis of GAs. Finally, we show that JA antagonizes GA biosynthesis by strongly inhibiting the transcript accumulation of GA20ox and possibly GA13ox, the key genes in GA production, demonstrating that high JA levels antagonize GA biosynthesis in stems.