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Open Access Research article

Jasmonic acid is involved in the signaling pathway for fungal endophyte-induced volatile oil accumulation of Atractylodes lancea plantlets

Cheng-Gang Ren and Chuan-Chao Dai*

Author Affiliations

Jiangsu Engineering and Technology Research Center for Industrialization of Microbial Resources, Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Microbes and Functional Genomics, College of Life Science, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, 210046, P.R. China

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BMC Plant Biology 2012, 12:128  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-12-128

Published: 2 August 2012



Jasmonic acid (JA) is a well-characterized signaling molecule in plant defense responses. However, its relationships with other signal molecules in secondary metabolite production induced by endophytic fungus are largely unknown. Atractylodes lancea (Asteraceae) is a traditional Chinese medicinal plant that produces antimicrobial volatiles oils. We incubated plantlets of A. lancea with the fungus Gilmaniella sp. AL12. to research how JA interacted with other signal molecules in volatile oil production.


Fungal inoculation increased JA generation and volatile oil accumulation. To investigate whether JA is required for volatile oil production, plantlets were treated with JA inhibitors ibuprofen (IBU) and nordihydroguaiaretic acid. The inhibitors suppressed both JA and volatile oil production, but fungal inoculation could still induce volatile oils. Plantlets were further treated with the nitric oxide (NO)-specific scavenger 2-(4-carboxyphenyl)-4,4,5,5-tetramethylimidazoline-1-oxyl-3-oxide potassium salt (cPTIO), the H2O2 inhibitors diphenylene iodonium (DPI) and catalase (CAT), and the salicylic acid (SA) biosynthesis inhibitors paclobutrazol and 2-aminoindan-2-phosphonic acid. With fungal inoculation, IBU did not inhibit NO production, and JA generation was significantly suppressed by cPTIO, showing that JA may act as a downstream signal of the NO pathway. Exogenous H2O2 could reverse the inhibitory effects of cPTIO on JA generation, indicating that NO mediates JA induction by the fungus through H2O2-dependent pathways. With fungal inoculation, the H2O2 scavenger DPI/CAT could inhibit JA generation, but IBU could not inhibit H2O2 production, implying that H2O2 directly mediated JA generation. Finally, JA generation was enhanced when SA production was suppressed, and vice versa.


Jasmonic acid acts as a downstream signaling molecule in NO- and H2O2-mediated volatile oil accumulation induced by endophytic fungus and has a complementary interaction with the SA signaling pathway.

Atractylodes lancea; Endophytic fungi; Volatile oil; Jasmonic acid; Medicinal herb