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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Corvallis, Oregon » Forage Seed and Cereal Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #346408

Title: Activation of MAP kinases by green leaf volatiles in grasses

item Dombrowski, James
item Martin, Ruth

Submitted to: BMC Research Notes
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/8/2017
Publication Date: 1/29/2018
Citation: Dombrowski, J.E., Martin, R.C. 2018. Activation of MAP kinases by green leaf volatiles in grasses. BMC Research Notes. 11(1):79.

Interpretive Summary: Forage and turf related grasses are utilized in diverse environments. One of the major stresses forage and turf related grasses are subjected to is wounding. Unlike cereal grasses and many other crop species, forage and turf grasses are repeatedly cut or grazed upon throughout their lifecycle. Currently there is very little known concerning the perception, signalling or molecular responses associated with wound stress. This research evaluated volatile compounds released by grasses after cutting and discovered that they activated specific signaling proteins, which act as a conduit for signals perceived by the plant. This class of proteins is part of an important signaling pathway that mediates the plants response to stress. Furthermore, it was discovered that this signaling protein was also activated by volatiles released from other plant species, suggesting that plants can sense their surrounding environment. This research provides an important step towards elucidating the molecular mechanisms utilized by grasses when responding to environmental stresses, or upon exposure to various compounds in the field. In the long term this information can lead to improvements and increases in the yield, sustainability and the quality of grasses used as a feedstock for livestock and biofuels in different end-use environments.

Technical Abstract: Forage and turf related grasses are utilized in diverse environments. One of the major stresses these grasses are subjected to is wounding. Previously we have shown that mechanical wounding activated a 46 kDa and 44 kDa mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in the model grass species Lolium temulentum (Lt). Since green leaf volatiles (GLV) are released during wounding, we wanted determine if specific compounds contained in the GLV mixture or if GLV generated from other plant species could activate these Lt MAPKs. Our analysis found that just a one-minute exposure to GLV was enough to activate the Lt 46 kDa MAPK within 3 minutes and the 44 kDa MAPK within 15 minutes. This activation pattern showed similar kinetics to those observed after wounding, and the GLV and wound activated bands associated with these MAPKs displayed identical migration on SDS-PAGE gels. Thirteen different commercially available plant volatiles (alcohols, aldehydes and ketones) were tested and all thirteen volatile compounds were able to activate these same Lt MAPKs. Furthermore, GLV derived from three other grass species as well as tomato, a dicot, were also shown to activate these MAPKs in Lt.