Plants respond to insect infestation with defenses targeting insect eggs on their leaves and the feeding insects. Upon perceiving cues indicating imminent herbivory, such as damage-induced leaf odors emitted by neighboring plants, they are able to prime their defenses against feeding insects. Yet it remains unknown whether plants can amplify their defenses against insect eggs by responding to cues indicating imminent egg deposition. Here, we tested the hypothesis that a plant strengthens its defenses against insect eggs by responding to insect sex pheromones. Our study shows that preexposure of Pinus sylvestris to pine sawfly sex pheromones reduces the survival rate of subsequently laid sawfly eggs. Exposure to pheromones does not significantly affect the pine needle water content, but results in increased needle hydrogen peroxide concentrations and increased expression of defense-related pine genes such as SOD (superoxide dismutase), LOX (lipoxygenase), PAL (phenylalanine ammonia lyase), and PR-1 (pathogenesis related protein 1) after egg deposition. These results support our hypothesis that plant responses to sex pheromones emitted by an herbivorous insect can boost plant defensive responses to insect egg deposition, thus highlighting the ability of a plant to mobilize its defenses very early against an initial phase of insect attack, the egg deposition.
induced plant defense
500 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik::590 Tiere (Zoologie)::590 Tiere (Zoologie)
Defense of Scots pine against sawfly eggs (Diprion pini) is primed by exposure to sawfly sex pheromones
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Biologie, Chemie, Pharmazie
Institut für Biologie / Arbeitsbereich Zoologie