In a full factorial crossed design with parental and offspring JA and control treatments, we performed leaf RNA-seq gene expression analysis, LC-MS metabolomics and total phenolics assays in offspring plants.
Expression analysis, leveraged by a de novo assembled transcriptome, revealed an induced response to JA exposure that is consistent with known JA effects. The intergenerational effect of treatment was considerable: 307 of 858 detected JA-responsive transcripts were affected by parental JA treatment. In terms of the numbers of metabolites affected, the magnitude of the chemical response to parental JA exposure was c. 10% of the direct JA treatment response. Transcriptome and metabolome analyses both identified the phosphatidylinositol signaling pathway as a target of intergenerational JA effects.
Our results highlight that parental environments can have substantial effects in offspring generations. Transcriptome and metabolome assays provide a basis for zooming in on the potential mechanisms of inherited JA effects.