Intergenerational environmental effects: Functional signals in offspring transcriptomes and metabolomes after parental jasmonic acid treatment in apomictic dandelion

K.J.F. Verhoeven (Corresponding author), Eline H. Verbon, T.P. Van Gurp, C. Oplaat, J.L. Ferreira de Carvalho, Alison M. Morse, Mark Stahl, M. Macel, L.M. McIntyre

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Parental environments can influence offspring traits. However, the magnitude of the impact of parental environments on offspring molecular phenotypes is poorly understood. Here, we test the direct effects and intergenerational effects of jasmonic acid (JA) treatment, which is involved in herbivory-induced defense signaling, on transcriptomes and metabolomes in apomictic common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale).
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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)871-882
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number2
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018



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