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In JoVE (1)
Other Publications (19)
- The Plant Journal : for Cell and Molecular Biology
- Molecular Plant-microbe Interactions : MPMI
- Plant Physiology
- Plant Signaling & Behavior
- BioEssays : News and Reviews in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
- BMC Genomics
- Plant Signaling & Behavior
- Plant Physiology
- Plant Physiology
- Plant, Cell & Environment
- Journal of Chemical Ecology
- Genome Biology
- Journal of Chemical Ecology
- Current Opinion in Plant Biology
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- The Plant Cell
- Plant Physiology
- Plant Biotechnology Journal
Articles by Martin De Vos in JoVE
Choice and No-Choice Assays for Testing the Resistance of A. thaliana to Chewing Insects
Martin De Vos, Georg Jander
Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Cornell University
Plant resistance to chewing insect herbivores can be tested in several ways. Here, we demonstrate how to set-up a choice and a no-choice experiment with the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana to identify resistance against the pest species Pieris rapae.
Other articles by Martin De Vos on PubMed
Characterization of Arabidopsis Enhanced Disease Susceptibility Mutants That Are Affected in Systemically Induced Resistance
The Plant Journal : for Cell and Molecular Biology. Jan, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 12060223
In Arabidopsis, the rhizobacterial strain Pseudomonas fluorescens WCS417r triggers jasmonate (JA)- and ethylene (ET)-dependent induced systemic resistance (ISR) that is effective against different pathogens. Arabidopsis genotypes unable to express rhizobacteria-mediated ISR against the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 (Pst DC3000) exhibit enhanced disease susceptibility towards this pathogen. To identify novel components controlling induced resistance, we tested 11 Arabidopsis mutants with enhanced disease susceptibility (eds) to pathogenic P. syringae bacteria for WCS417r-mediated ISR and pathogen-induced systemic acquired resistance (SAR). Mutants eds4-1, eds8-1 and eds10-1 failed to develop WCS417r-mediated ISR, while mutants eds5-1 and eds12-1 failed to express pathogen-induced SAR. Whereas eds5-1 is known to be blocked in salicylic acid (SA) biosynthesis, analysis of eds12-1 revealed that its impaired SAR response is caused by reduced sensitivity to this molecule. Analysis of the ISR-impaired eds mutants revealed that they are non-responsive to induction of resistance by methyl jasmonate (MeJA) (eds4-1, eds8-1 and eds10-1), or the ET precursor 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC) (eds4-1 and eds10-1). Moreover, eds4-1 and eds8-1 showed reduced expression of the plant defensin gene PDF1.2 after MeJA and ACC treatment, which was associated with reduced sensitivity to either ET (eds4-1) or MeJA (eds8-1). Although blocked in WCS417r-, MeJA- and ACC-induced ISR, eds10-1 behaved normally for several other responses to MeJA or ACC. The results indicate that EDS12 is required for SAR and acts downstream of SA, whereas EDS4, EDS8 and EDS10 are required for ISR acting either in JA signalling (EDS8), ET signalling (EDS4), or downstream JA and ET signalling (EDS10) in the ISR pathway.
Molecular Plant-microbe Interactions : MPMI. Sep, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 16167763
Plant defenses against pathogens and insects are regulated differentially by cross-communicating signaling pathways in which salicylic acid (SA), jasmonic acid (JA), and ethylene (ET) play key roles. To understand how plants integrate pathogen- and insect-induced signals into specific defense responses, we monitored the dynamics of SA, JA, and ET signaling in Arabidopsis after attack by a set of microbial pathogens and herbivorous insects with different modes of attack. Arabidopsis plants were exposed to a pathogenic leaf bacterium (Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato), a pathogenic leaf fungus (Alternaria brassicicola), tissue-chewing caterpillars (Pieris rapae), cell-content-feeding thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis), or phloem-feeding aphids (Myzus persicae). Monitoring the signal signature in each plant-attacker combination showed that the kinetics of SA, JA, and ET production varies greatly in both quantity and timing. Analysis of global gene expression profiles demonstrated that the signal signature characteristic of each Arabidopsis-attacker combination is orchestrated into a surprisingly complex set of transcriptional alterations in which, in all cases, stress-related genes are overrepresented. Comparison of the transcript profiles revealed that consistent changes induced by pathogens and insects with very different modes of attack can show considerable overlap. Of all consistent changes induced by A. brassicicola, Pieris rapae, and E occidentalis, more than 50% also were induced consistently by P. syringae. Notably, although these four attackers all stimulated JA biosynthesis, the majority of the changes in JA-responsive gene expression were attacker specific. All together, our study shows that SA, JA, and ET play a primary role in the orchestration of the plant's defense response, but other regulatory mechanisms, such as pathway cross-talk or additional attacker-induced signals, eventually shape the highly complex attacker-specific defense response.
Plant Physiology. Sep, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16829584
Caterpillars of the herbivore Pieris rapae stimulate the production of jasmonic acid (JA) and ethylene (ET) in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) and trigger a defense response that affects insect performance on systemic tissues. To investigate the spectrum of effectiveness of P. rapae-induced resistance, we examined the level of resistance against different pathogens. Although the necrotrophic fungus Alternaria brassicicola is sensitive to JA-dependent defenses, herbivore-induced resistance was not effective against this pathogen. By contrast, caterpillar feeding significantly reduced disease caused by the bacterial pathogens Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato and Xanthomonas campestris pv armoraciae. However, this effect was apparent only locally in caterpillar-damaged tissue. Arabidopsis mutants jar1, coi1, ein2, sid2, eds5, and npr1 showed wild-type levels of P. rapae-induced protection against P. syringae pv tomato, suggesting that this local, herbivore-induced defense response does not depend exclusively on either JA, ET, or salicylic acid (SA). Resistance against the biotroph Turnip crinkle virus (TCV) requires SA, but not JA and ET. Nevertheless, herbivore feeding strongly affected TCV multiplication and TCV lesion formation, also in systemic tissues. Wounding alone was not effective, but application of P. rapae regurgitate onto the wounds induced a similar level of protection. Analysis of SA-induced PATHOGENESIS RELATED-1 (PR-1) expression revealed that P. rapae grazing primed Arabidopsis leaves for augmented expression of SA-dependent defenses. Pharmacological experiments showed that ET acts synergistically on SA-induced PR-1, suggesting that the increased production of ET upon herbivore feeding sensitizes the tissue to respond faster to SA, thereby contributing to an enhanced defensive capacity toward pathogens, such as TCV, that trigger SA-dependent defenses upon infection.
The Arabidopsis Thaliana Transcription Factor AtMYB102 Functions in Defense Against the Insect Herbivore Pieris Rapae
Plant Signaling & Behavior. Nov, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 19517001
In Arabidopsis thaliana the R2R3-MYB transcription factor family consists of over 100 members and is implicated in many biological processes, such as plant development, metabolism, senescence, and defense. The R2R3-MYB transcription factor gene AtMYB102 has been shown to respond to salt stress, ABA, JA, and wounding, suggesting that AtMYB102 plays a role in the response of plants to dehydration after wounding. Here, we studied the role of AtMYB102 in the response of A. thaliana to feeding by larvae of the white cabbage butterfly Pieris rapae. A. thaliana reporter lines expressing GUS under control of the AtMYB102 promoter revealed that AtMYB102 is expressed locally at the feeding sites of herbivore-damaged leaves, but not systemically in uninfested plant parts. Knockout AtMYB102 transposon-insertion mutant plants (myb102) allowed a faster development of P. rapae caterpillars than wild-type Col-0 plants. Moreover, the number of caterpillars that had developed into pupae within 14 days was significantly higher on myb102, indicating that in wild-type plants AtMYB102 contributes to basal resistance against P. rapae feeding. Microarray analysis of wild-type Col-0 and AtMYB102 overexpressing 35S::MYB102 plants revealed a large number of differentially expressed genes. Besides several defense-related genes, a relatively large number of genes is associated with cell wall modifications.
BioEssays : News and Reviews in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. Sep, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17691101
To ensure their survival in natural habitats, plants must recognize and respond to a wide variety of insect herbivores. Aphids and other Hemiptera pose a particular challenge, because they cause relatively little direct tissue damage when inserting their slender stylets intercellularly to feed from the phloem sieve elements. Plant responses to this unusual feeding strategy almost certainly include recognition of aphid salivary components and the induction of phloem-specific defenses. Due to the excellent genetic and genomic resources that are available for Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis), this plant was chosen as a model system to study the metabolic and transcriptional responses to infestation by two aphids, Myzus persicae (green peach aphid, a broad generalist) and Brevicoryne brassicae (cabbage aphid, a crucifer-feeding specialist). Future research on Arabidopsis-aphid interactions will lead to the identification of aphid-specific elicitors, components of the defense-signaling pathway, and additional metabolic responses that are induced by aphid infestation.
BMC Genomics. 2007 | Pubmed ID: 18021414
The green peach aphid, Myzus persicae (Sulzer), is a world-wide insect pest capable of infesting more than 40 plant families, including many crop species. However, despite the significant damage inflicted by M. persicae in agricultural systems through direct feeding damage and by its ability to transmit plant viruses, limited genomic information is available for this species.
Plant Signaling & Behavior. Nov, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 19704549
To defend themselves, plants activate inducible defense mechanisms that are effective against the invader that is encountered. There is partial overlap in the defense signaling pathways that are induced by insect herbivores and microbial pathogens that may result in cross-resistance. We have previously shown that infestation by tissue-chewing Pieris rapae larvae induces resistance in Arabidopsis thaliana against subsequent attack by the microbial pathogens Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato (Pst), Xanthomonas campestris pv. armoraciae (Xca) and turnip crinkle virus (TCV). Phloem-feeding aphids, such as the generalist Myzus persicae, have a stealthy feeding strategy that is very different from chewing by lepidopteran larvae. Yet, M. persicae feeding results in a large transcriptomic change. Here, we report on the effectiveness of the defense response that is triggered by M. persicae infestation, as well as the sensitivity of M. persicae to microbially-induced resistance. M. persicae reproduction was not affected by prior conspecific feeding, nor was aphid-induced resistance effective against subsequent attack by Pst, Xca or TCV. Moreover, induced systemic resistance (ISR) triggered by beneficial Pseudomonas fluorescens rhizobacteria was not effective against M. persicae. However, systemic acquired resistance (SAR) induced by prior infection with avirulent Pst was associated with reduced aphid reproduction. These data provide insight into the effectiveness of pathogen and insect resistance and highlight the complexity of the defense responses that are triggered during multitrophic plant-attacker interactions.
Plant Physiology. Mar, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18192443
Like many crucifer-specialist herbivores, Pieris rapae uses the presence of glucosinolates as a signal for oviposition and larval feeding. Arabidopsis thaliana glucosinolate-related mutants provide a unique resource for studying the in vivo role of these compounds in affecting P. rapae oviposition. Low indole glucosinolate cyp79B2 cyp79B3 mutants received fewer eggs than wild type, confirming prior research showing that indole glucosinolates are an important oviposition cue. Transgenic plants overexpressing epithiospecifier protein, which shifts glucosinolate breakdown toward nitrile formation, are less attractive to ovipositing P. rapae females. Exogenous application of indol-3-ylmethylglucosinolate breakdown products to cyp79B2 cyp79B3 mutants showed that oviposition was increased by indole-3-carbinol and decreased by indole-3-acetonitrile (IAN). P. rapae larvae tolerate a cruciferous diet by using a gut enzyme to redirect glucosinolate breakdown toward less toxic nitriles, including IAN, rather than isothiocyanates. The presence of IAN in larval regurgitant contributes to reduced oviposition by adult females on larvae-infested plants. Therefore, production of nitriles via epithiospecifier protein in cruciferous plants, which makes the plants more sensitive to generalist herbivores, may be a counter-adaptive mechanism for reducing oviposition by P. rapae and perhaps other crucifer-specialist insects.
The AP2/ERF Domain Transcription Factor ORA59 Integrates Jasmonic Acid and Ethylene Signals in Plant Defense
Plant Physiology. Jul, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18467450
Plant defense against pathogens depends on the action of several endogenously produced hormones, including jasmonic acid (JA) and ethylene. In certain defense responses, JA and ethylene signaling pathways synergize to activate a specific set of defense genes. Here, we describe the role of the Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) APETALA2/ETHYLENE RESPONSE FACTOR (AP2/ERF) domain transcription factor ORA59 in JA and ethylene signaling and in defense. JA- and ethylene-responsive expression of several defense genes, including PLANT DEFENSIN1.2 (PDF1.2), depended on ORA59. As a result, overexpression of ORA59 caused increased resistance against the fungus Botrytis cinerea, whereas ORA59-silenced plants were more susceptible. Several AP2/ERF domain transcription factors have been suggested to be positive regulators of PDF1.2 gene expression based on overexpression in stably transformed plants. Using two different transient overexpression approaches, we found that only ORA59 and ERF1 were able to activate PDF1.2 gene expression, in contrast to the related proteins AtERF1 and AtERF2. Our results demonstrate that ORA59 is an essential integrator of the JA and ethylene signal transduction pathways and thereby provide new insight into the nature of the molecular components involved in the cross talk between these two hormones.
Myzus Persicae (green Peach Aphid) Salivary Components Induce Defence Responses in Arabidopsis Thaliana
Plant, Cell & Environment. Nov, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19558622
Myzus persicae (green peach aphid) feeding on Arabidopsis thaliana induces a defence response, quantified as reduced aphid progeny production, in infested leaves but not in other parts of the plant. Similarly, infiltration of aphid saliva into Arabidopsis leaves causes only a local increase in aphid resistance. Further characterization of the defence-eliciting salivary components indicates that Arabidopsis recognizes a proteinaceous elicitor with a size between 3 and 10 kD. Genetic analysis using well-characterized Arabidopsis mutants shows that saliva-induced resistance against M. persicae is independent of the known defence signalling pathways involving salicylic acid, jasmonate and ethylene. Among 78 Arabidopsis genes that were induced by aphid saliva infiltration, 52 had been identified previously as aphid-induced, but few are responsive to the well-known plant defence signalling molecules salicylic acid and jasmonate. Quantitative PCR analyses confirm expression of saliva-induced genes. In particular, expression of a set of O-methyltransferases, which may be involved in the synthesis of aphid-repellent glucosinolates, was significantly up-regulated by both M. persicae feeding and treatment with aphid saliva. However, this did not correlate with increased production of 4-methoxyindol-3-ylmethylglucosinolate, suggesting that aphid salivary components trigger an Arabidopsis defence response that is independent of this aphid-deterrent glucosinolate.
Non-volatile Intact Indole Glucosinolates Are Host Recognition Cues for Ovipositing Plutella Xylostella
Journal of Chemical Ecology. Dec, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 20054620
The diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella), a crucifer-specialist pest, has been documented to employ glucosinolates as host recognition cues for oviposition. Through the use of mutant Arabidopsis thaliana plants, we investigated the role of specific classes of glucosinolates in the signaling of oviposition by P. xylostella in vivo. Indole glucosinolate production in A. thaliana was found to be crucial in attracting oviposition. Additionally, indole glucosinolates functioned as oviposition cues only when in their intact form. 4-Methoxy-indol-3-ylmethylglucosinolate was implicated as an especially strong oviposition attractant in vitro, suggesting that indole glucosinolate secondary structure may play a role in P. xylostella host recognition as well. Aliphatic glucosinolate-derived breakdown products were found to attract P. xylostella, but only after damage or in the absence of indole glucosinolates. Furthermore, mutant plants lacking both intact indole glucosinolates and aliphatic glucosinolate breakdown products exhibited decreased oviposition attractiveness beyond that of the progenitor mutants lacking either component of the glucosinolate-myrosinase system. Therefore, we conclude that nonvolatile indole glucosinolates and volatile aliphatic glucosinolate breakdown products both appear to play important roles as host recognition cues for P. xylostella oviposition.
Genome Biology. 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20178569
Recent genomic analyses of arthropod defense mechanisms suggest conservation of key elements underlying responses to pathogens, parasites and stresses. At the center of pathogen-induced immune responses are signaling pathways triggered by the recognition of fungal, bacterial and viral signatures. These pathways result in the production of response molecules, such as antimicrobial peptides and lysozymes, which degrade or destroy invaders. Using the recently sequenced genome of the pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum), we conducted the first extensive annotation of the immune and stress gene repertoire of a hemipterous insect, which is phylogenetically distantly related to previously characterized insects models.
Journal of Chemical Ecology. Aug, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20617455
Glucosinolates are a diverse group of defensive secondary metabolites that is characteristic of the Brassicales. Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. (Brassicaceae) lines with mutations that greatly reduce abundance of indole glucosinolates (cyp79B2 cyp79B3), aliphatic glucosinolates (myb28 myb29), or both (cyp79B2 cyp79B3 myb28 myb29) make it possible to test the in vivo defensive function of these two major glucosinolate classes. In experiments with Lepidoptera that are not crucifer-feeding specialists, aliphatic and indole glucosinolates had an additive effect on Spodoptera exigua (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) larval growth, whereas Trichoplusia ni (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and Manduca sexta (L.) (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) were affected only by the absence of aliphatic glucosinolates. In the case of two crucifer-feeding specialists, Pieris rapae (L.) (Lepidoptera: Pieridae) and Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), there were no major changes in larval performance due to decreased aliphatic and/or indole glucosinolate content. Nevertheless, choice tests show that aliphatic and indole glucosinolates act in an additive manner to promote larval feeding of both species and P. rapae oviposition. Together, these results support the hypothesis that a diversity of glucosinolates is required to limit the growth of multiple insect herbivores.
Current Opinion in Plant Biology. Aug, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20627668
Volatile communication plays an important role in mediating the interactions between plants, aphids, and other organisms in the environment. In response to aphid infestation, many plants initiate indirect defenses through the release of volatiles that attract ladybugs, parasitoid wasps, and other aphid-consuming predators. Aphid-induced volatile release in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana requires the jasmonate signaling pathway. Volatile release is also induced by infection with aphid-transmitted viruses. Consistent with mathematical models of optimal transmission, viruses that are acquired rapidly by aphids induce volatile release to attract migratory aphids, but discourage long-term aphid feeding. Although the ecology of these interactions is well-studied, further research is needed to identify the molecular basis of aphid-induced and virus-induced changes in plant volatile release.
Alarm Pheromone Habituation in Myzus Persicae Has Fitness Consequences and Causes Extensive Gene Expression Changes
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Aug, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20679203
In most aphid species, facultative parthenogenetic reproduction allows rapid growth and formation of large single-genotype colonies. Upon predator attack, individual aphids emit an alarm pheromone to warn the colony of this danger. (E)-beta-farnesene (EBF) is the predominant constituent of the alarm pheromone in Myzus persicae (green peach aphid) and many other aphid species. Continuous exposure to alarm pheromone in aphid colonies raised on transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana plants that produce EBF leads to habituation within three generations. Whereas naive aphids are repelled by EBF, habituated aphids show no avoidance response. Similarly, individual aphids from the habituated colony can revert back to being EBF-sensitive in three generations, indicating that this behavioral change is not caused by a genetic mutation. Instead, DNA microarray experiments comparing gene expression in naive and habituated aphids treated with EBF demonstrate an almost complete desensitization in the transcriptional response to EBF. Furthermore, EBF-habituated aphids show increased progeny production relative to EBF-responsive aphids, with or without EBF treatment. Although both naive and habituated aphids emit EBF upon damage, EBF-responsive aphids have a higher survival rate in the presence of a coccinellid predator (Hippodamia convergens), and thus outperform habituated aphids that do not show an avoidance response. These results provide evidence that aphid perception of conspecific alarm pheromone aids in predator avoidance and thereby bestows fitness benefits in survivorship and fecundity. Therefore, although habituated M. persicae produce more progeny, EBF-emitting transgenic plants may have practical applications in agriculture as a result of increased predation of habituated aphids.
Non-protein Amino Acids in Plant Defense Against Insect Herbivores: Representative Cases and Opportunities for Further Functional Analysis
Phytochemistry. Sep, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21529857
Chemical defense against herbivores is of utmost importance for plants. Primary and secondary metabolites, including non-protein amino acids, have been implicated in plant defense against insect pests. High levels of non-protein amino acids have been identified in certain plant families, including legumes and grasses, where they have been associated with resistance to insect herbivory. Non-protein amino acids can have direct toxic effects via several mechanisms, including misincorporation into proteins, obstruction of primary metabolism, and mimicking and interfering with insect neurological processes. Additionally, certain non-protein amino acids allow nitrogen to be stored in a form that is metabolically inaccessible to herbivores and, in some cases, may act as signals for further plant defense responses. Specialized insect herbivores often possess specific mechanisms to avoid or detoxify non-protein amino acids from their host plants. Although hundreds of non-protein amino acids have been found in nature, biosynthetic pathways and defensive functions have been elucidated in only a few cases. Next-generation sequencing technologies and the development of additional plant and insect model species will facilitate further research on the production of non-protein amino acids, a widespread but relatively uninvestigated plant defense mechanism.
Biosynthesis and Defensive Function of Nδ-acetylornithine, a Jasmonate-induced Arabidopsis Metabolite
The Plant Cell. Sep, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21917546
Since research on plant interactions with herbivores and pathogens is often constrained by the analysis of already known compounds, there is a need to identify new defense-related plant metabolites. The uncommon nonprotein amino acid N(δ)-acetylornithine was discovered in a targeted search for Arabidopsis thaliana metabolites that are strongly induced by the phytohormone methyl jasmonate (MeJA). Stable isotope labeling experiments show that, after MeJA elicitation, Arg, Pro, and Glu are converted to Orn, which is acetylated by NATA1 to produce N(δ)-acetylornithine. MeJA-induced N(δ)-acetylornithine accumulation occurs in all tested Arabidopsis accessions, other Arabidopsis species, Capsella rubella, and Boechera stricta, but not in less closely related Brassicaceae. Both insect feeding and Pseudomonas syringae infection increase NATA1 expression and N(δ)-acetylornithine accumulation. NATA1 transient expression in Nicotiana tabacum and the addition of N(δ)-acetylornithine to an artificial diet both decrease Myzus persicae (green peach aphid) reproduction, suggesting a direct toxic or deterrent effect. However, since broad metabolic changes that are induced by MeJA in wild-type Arabidopsis are attenuated in a nata1 mutant strain, there may also be indirect effects on herbivores and pathogens. In the case of P. syringae, growth on a nata1 mutant is reduced compared with wild-type Arabidopsis, but growth in vitro is unaffected by N(δ)-acetylornithine addition.
Plant Physiology. Feb, 2012 | Pubmed ID: 22209873
Inducible defenses, which provide enhanced resistance after initial attack, are nearly universal in plants. This defense signaling cascade is mediated by the synthesis, movement, and perception of jasmonic acid and related plant metabolites. To characterize the long-term persistence of plant immunity, we challenged Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) with caterpillar herbivory, application of methyl jasmonate, or mechanical damage during vegetative growth and assessed plant resistance in subsequent generations. Here, we show that induced resistance was associated with transgenerational priming of jasmonic acid-dependent defense responses in both species, caused caterpillars to grow up to 50% smaller than on control plants, and persisted for two generations in Arabidopsis. Arabidopsis mutants that are deficient in jasmonate perception (coronatine insensitive1) or in the biogenesis of small interfering RNA (dicer-like2 dicer-like3 dicer-like4 and nuclear RNA polymerase d2a nuclear RNA polymerase d2b) do not exhibit inherited resistance. The observation of inherited resistance in both the Brassicaceae and Solanaceae suggests that this trait may be more widely distributed in plants. Epigenetic resistance to herbivory thus represents a phenotypically plastic mechanism for enhanced defense across generations.
Engineering of Benzylglucosinolate in Tobacco Provides Proof-of-concept for Dead-end Trap Crops Genetically Modified to Attract Plutella Xylostella (diamondback Moth)
Plant Biotechnology Journal. Jan, 2012 | Pubmed ID: 22256859
Glucosinolates are biologically active natural products characteristic of crucifers, including oilseed rape, cabbage vegetables and the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Crucifer-specialist insect herbivores, like the economically important pest Plutella xylostella (diamondback moth), frequently use glucosinolates as oviposition stimuli. This suggests that the transfer of a glucosinolate biosynthetic pathway to a non-crucifer would stimulate oviposition on an otherwise non-attractive plant. Here, we demonstrate that stable genetic transfer of the six-step benzylglucosinolate pathway from A. thaliana to Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco) results in the production of benzylglucosinolate without causing morphological alterations. Benzylglucosinolate-producing tobacco plants were more attractive for oviposition by female P. xylostella moths than wild-type tobacco plants. As newly hatched P. xylostella larvae were unable to survive on tobacco, these results represent a proof-of-concept strategy for rendering non-host plants attractive for oviposition by specialist herbivores with the long-term goal of generating efficient dead-end trap crops for agriculturally important pests.