Target metabolic and large-scale transcriptomic analyses of tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) Bright Yellow-2 (BY-2) cells were employed to identify novel gene(s) involved in methyl jasmonate (MJ)-dependent function in plants. At the metabolic level, we describe the specific accumulation of several phenylpropanoid-polyamine conjugates in MJ-treated BY-2 cells. Furthermore, global gene expression analysis of MJ-treated cells using a 16K cDNA microarray containing expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from BY-2 cells revealed 828 genes that were upregulated by MJ treatment within 48 h. Using time-course expression data we identified a novel MJ-inducible R2R3 MYB-type transcription factor (NtMYBJS1) that was co-expressed in a close temporal pattern with the core phenylpropanoid genes phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) and 4-coumarate:CoA ligase (4CL). Overexpression of NtMYBJS1 in tobacco BY-2 cells caused accumulation of specific phenylpropanoid conjugates in the cells. Subsequent microarray analysis of NtMYBJS1 transgenic lines revealed that a limited number of genes, including PAL and 4CL, were specifically induced in the presence of the NtMYBJS1 transgene. These results, together with results of both antisense expression analysis and of gel mobility shift assays, strongly indicate that the NtMYBJS1 protein functions in tobacco MJ signal transduction, inducing phenylpropanoid biosynthetic genes and the accumulation of phenylpropanoid-polyamine conjugates during stress.
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