It has been suggested that jasmonic acid (JA) could be an integral part of a general signal transduction system regulating inducible defense genes in plants. It was reported that treatment with an elicitor (N-acetylchitoheptaose) induced production of phytoalexin in suspension-cultured rice (Oryza sativa L.) cells. In this study, the role of JA in the induction of phytoalexin production by N-acetylchitoheptaose was investigated. Exogenously applied ((plus or minus))-JA (10–4 M) clearly induced the production of momilactone A, a major phytoalexin, in suspension-cultured rice cells. On the other hand, in rice cells treated with N-acetylchitoheptaose, endogenous JA was rapidly and transiently accumulated prior to accumulation of momilactone A. Treatment with ibuprofen, an inhibitor of JA biosynthesis, reduced production of momilactone A in the cells treated with N-acetylchitoheptaose, but the addition of ((plus or minus))-JA increased production of momilactone A to levels higher than those in the elicited rice cells. These results strongly suggest that JA functions as a signal transducer in the induction of biosynthesis of momilactone A by N-acetylchitoheptaose in suspension-cultured rice cells.
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