Methyl Jasmonate Affects Morphology, Number and Activity of Endoplasmic Reticulum Bodies in Raphanus sativus Root Cells

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Abstract

The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) bodies are ER-derived structures that are found in Brassicaceae species and thought to play a role in defense. Here, we have investigated the occurrence, distribution and function of ER bodies in root cells of Raphanus sativus using a combination of microscopic and biochemical methods. We have also assessed the response of ER bodies to methyl jasmonate (MeJA), a phytohormone that mediates plant defense against wounding and pathogens. Our results show that (i) ER bodies do occur in different root cell types from the root cap region to the differentiation zone; (ii) they do accumulate a PYK10-like protein similar to the major marker protein of ER bodies that is involved in defense in Arabidopsis thaliana; and (iii) treatment of root cells with MeJA causes a significant increase in the number of ER bodies and the activity of β-glucosidases. More importantly, MeJA was found to induce the formation of very long ER bodies that results from the fusion of small ones, a phenomenon that has not been reported in any other study so far. These findings demonstrate that MeJA impacts the number and morphology of functional ER bodies and stimulates ER body enzyme activities, probably to participate in defense responses of radish root. They also suggest that these structures may provide a defensive system specific to root cells.

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