The role of jasmonate signalling in quinolizidine alkaloid biosynthesis, wounding and aphid predation response in narrow-leafed lupin

Karen M. Frick, Rhonda C. Foley, Kadambot H. M. Siddique, Karam B. Singh, Lars G. Kamphuis

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Quinolizidine alkaloids (QAs) are toxic secondary metabolites produced in lupin species that protect the plant against insects. They form in vegetative tissues and accumulate to a different extent in the grains: high levels in 'bitter' narrow-leafed lupin (NLL) and low levels in 'sweet' NLL. Grain QA levels vary considerably, and sometimes exceed the industry limit for food and feed purposes. We hypothesised that jasmonates regulate QA biosynthesis in response to environmental stresses such as wounding and aphid predation, which may explain non-genetic variability in grain QA levels. Methyl jasmonate (MeJA)-inducible genes were identified and verified in NLL. Exogenous MeJA application-induced expression of QA biosynthetic genes and QA levels for bitter, but not sweet NLL. Although MeJA-inducible genes responded to wounding, the expression of QA biosynthetic genes was not induced for bitter and sweet NLL. We assessed the effect of aphid predation on QA production for two cultivars - one moderately resistant and one susceptible to aphid predation. Although MeJA-inducible genes responded to aphid predation, no change in QA levels was found for either cultivar. These findings offer insights into the regulation of QA biosynthesis in bitter and sweet NLL and concludes that aphids are not a concern for increasing grain QAs in NLL cultivars.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-454
Number of pages12
JournalFunctional Plant Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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