Age-Dependent Effects of Jasmonic Acid Treatment and Wind Exposure on Foliar Oxidase Activity and Insect Resistance in Tomato

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Jasmonic acid (JA) treatment of tomato plants induces several defense-related oxidative enzymes and increases pest resistance in a manner thought to simulate natural insect wounding. In a full-factorial greenhouse experiment, we examined the independent and interactive effects of plant age and exposure to wind-induced mechanical stress (MS), on the ability of JA to induce defense in tomato. In general, treatment of 4-, 6-, and 8-week-old tomato plants with 1 mM JA resulted in the induction of peroxidase and polyphenol oxidase activity and reduced the relative growth rate of first-instar Manduca sexta larvae fed treated leaves, in accordance with other studies. Peroxidase activity increased with plant age and was induced by JA most strongly in older plants. In contrast, polyphenol oxidase activity did not change with plant age and was induced by JA most strongly in young plants. While relative growth rates of M. sexta were lower on older plants overall, JA reduced growth rates most strongly in young plants, in which JA treatment enhanced polyphenol oxidase activity by more than 70%. MS enhanced the activity of peroxidase, but substantially reduced the activity of polyphenol oxidase; the latter most intensely on older plants. M. sexta tended to grow more slowly on MS-treated plants, although this effect was not significant. Thus, reduced polyphenol oxidase activity in MS-treated plants did not lead to an increase in growth rate of M. sexta, possibly because peroxidase activity was still elevated in MS-treated plants. Significant interactions between JA and MS and three-way interactions were not detected for any variable, although the inductive effects of both JA and MS interacted in complex ways with plant age. Our results indicate that resistance traits in tomato are differentially affected by JA and wind exposure and differ in their relative contribution to defense as plants age.



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