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Jeanne M. Harris Research Program


Regulation of the rhizobium-legume symbiosis by Jasmonic Acid.


Known for years as the source of jasmine flowers' lovely smell and a major component of perfume, jasmonic acid (JA) and its close relative, methyl jasmonate, have been shown to play an important physiological role in coordinating the response of plants to wounding, insect attack and microbial and fungal pathogens.

We have recently demonstrated a novel function for JA as an inhibitor of legume nodulation. During the analysis of this inhibition, we uncovered evidence for extensive crosstalk between three signaling pathways, ethylene, jasmonic acid, and Nod factor, in the regulation of nodule initiation on legume roots. The rapidity of the response of this signaling network allows the host to integrate multiple inputs and swiftly alter the physiological response.

We are interested in particular in the crosstalk between JA and the hormone ethylene. What are the components of this bridge between signaling pathways? Our lab is taking both genetic and reverse genetic approaches to identify genes involved in transducing the JA signal and in crosstalk with the ethylene pathway.

Jasmonic Acid inhibits nodulation in M. truncatula in a dose-dependent manner at the same concentrations that inhibit root growth. (n=40)

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