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Elife ; 102021 10 11.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34632981


Gut enzymes can metabolize plant defense compounds and thereby affect the growth and fitness of insect herbivores. Whether these enzymes also influence feeding preference is largely unknown. We studied the metabolization of taraxinic acid ß-D-glucopyranosyl ester (TA-G), a sesquiterpene lactone of the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) that deters its major root herbivore, the common cockchafer larva (Melolontha melolontha). We have demonstrated that TA-G is rapidly deglucosylated and conjugated to glutathione in the insect gut. A broad-spectrum M. melolontha ß-glucosidase, Mm_bGlc17, is sufficient and necessary for TA-G deglucosylation. Using cross-species RNA interference, we have shown that Mm_bGlc17 reduces TA-G toxicity. Furthermore, Mm_bGlc17 is required for the preference of M. melolontha larvae for TA-G-deficient plants. Thus, herbivore metabolism modulates both the toxicity and deterrence of a plant defense compound. Our work illustrates the multifaceted roles of insect digestive enzymes as mediators of plant-herbivore interactions.

BMC Plant Biol ; 21(1): 402, 2021 Sep 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34470613


BACKGROUND: Plant-parasitic nematodes and herbivorous insects have a significant negative impact on global crop production. A successful approach to protect crops from these pests is the in planta expression of nematotoxic or entomotoxic proteins such as crystal proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) or plant lectins. However, the efficacy of this approach is threatened by emergence of resistance in nematode and insect populations to these proteins. To solve this problem, novel nematotoxic and entomotoxic proteins are needed. During the last two decades, several cytoplasmic lectins from mushrooms with nematicidal and insecticidal activity have been characterized. In this study, we tested the potential of Marasmius oreades agglutinin (MOA) to furnish Arabidopsis plants with resistance towards three economically important crop pests: the two plant-parasitic nematodes Heterodera schachtii and Meloidogyne incognita and the herbivorous diamondback moth Plutella xylostella. RESULTS: The expression of MOA does not affect plant growth under axenic conditions which is an essential parameter in the engineering of genetically modified crops. The transgenic Arabidopsis lines showed nearly complete resistance to H. schachtii, in that the number of female and male nematodes per cm root was reduced by 86-91 % and 43-93 % compared to WT, respectively. M. incognita proved to be less susceptible to the MOA protein in that 18-25 % and 26-35 % less galls and nematode egg masses, respectively, were observed in the transgenic lines. Larvae of the herbivorous P. xylostella foraging on MOA-expression lines showed a lower relative mass gain (22-38 %) and survival rate (15-24 %) than those feeding on WT plants. CONCLUSIONS: The results of our in planta experiments reveal a robust nematicidal and insecticidal activity of the fungal lectin MOA against important agricultural pests which may be exploited for crop protection.

Aglutininas/farmacologia , Arabidopsis/parasitologia , Herbivoria , Marasmius/química , Nematoides/fisiologia , Aglutininas/química , Animais , Proteínas de Arabidopsis/genética , Proteínas de Arabidopsis/metabolismo , Regulação da Expressão Gênica de Plantas/efeitos dos fármacos , Mariposas/fisiologia , Doenças das Plantas/prevenção & controle , Plantas Geneticamente Modificadas
Elife ; 82019 09 11.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31509107


Herbivore natural enemies protect plants by regulating herbivore populations. Whether they can alter the behavior of their prey to increase predation success is unknown. We investigate if and how infection by the entomopathogenic nematode Heterorhabditis bacteriophora changes the behavior of healthy larvae of the western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera), a major pest of maize. We found that nematode-infected rootworm cadavers are attractive to rootworm larvae, and that this behavior increases nematode reproductive success. Nematode-infected rootworms release distinct volatile bouquets, including the unusual volatile butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). BHT alone attracts rootworms, and increases nematode reproductive success. A screen of different nematode and herbivore species shows that attraction of healthy hosts to nematode-infected cadavers is widespread and likely involves species-specific volatile cues. This study reveals a new facet of the biology of herbivore natural enemies that boosts their predation success by increasing the probability of host encounters.

Besouros/parasitologia , Herbivoria , Interações Hospedeiro-Parasita , Feromônios/metabolismo , Strongyloidea/crescimento & desenvolvimento , Strongyloidea/metabolismo , Compostos Orgânicos Voláteis/metabolismo , Animais , Besouros/crescimento & desenvolvimento , Larva/crescimento & desenvolvimento , Larva/parasitologia , Zea mays/parasitologia
Elife ; 62017 11 24.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29171835


Highly adapted herbivores can phenocopy two-component systems by stabilizing, sequestering and reactivating plant toxins. However, whether these traits protect herbivores against their enemies is poorly understood. We demonstrate that the western corn rootworm Diabrotica virgifera virgifera, the most damaging maize pest on the planet, specifically accumulates the root-derived benzoxazinoid glucosides HDMBOA-Glc and MBOA-Glc. MBOA-Glc is produced by D. virgifera through stabilization of the benzoxazinoid breakdown product MBOA by N-glycosylation. The larvae can hydrolyze HDMBOA-Glc, but not MBOA-Glc, to produce toxic MBOA upon predator attack. Accumulation of benzoxazinoids renders D. virgifera highly resistant to nematodes which inject and feed on entomopathogenic symbiotic bacteria. While HDMBOA-Glc and MBOA reduce the growth and infectivity of both the nematodes and the bacteria, MBOA-Glc repels infective juvenile nematodes. Our results illustrate how herbivores combine stabilized and reactivated plant toxins to defend themselves against a deadly symbiosis between the third and the fourth trophic level enemies.

Antibiose , Benzoxazinas/metabolismo , Besouros/fisiologia , Glucosídeos/metabolismo , Herbivoria/fisiologia , Toxinas Biológicas/metabolismo , Animais , Zea mays/parasitologia
Curr Opin Insect Sci ; 14: 8-11, 2016 04.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27436640


Numerous insect herbivores can take up and store plant toxins as self-defense against their own natural enemies. Plant toxin sequestration is tightly linked with tolerance strategies that keep the toxins functional. Specific transporters have been identified that likely allow the herbivore to control the spatiotemporal dynamics of toxin accumulation. Certain herbivores furthermore possess specific enzymes to boost the bioactivity of the sequestered toxins. Ecologists have studied plant toxin sequestration for decades. The recently uncovered molecular mechanisms in combination with transient, non-transgenic systems to manipulate insect gene expression will help to understand the importance of toxin sequestration for food-web dynamics in nature.

Cadeia Alimentar , Insetos/metabolismo , Plantas/química , Animais , Ecologia , Herbivoria , Folhas de Planta/química , Plantas/metabolismo