Plant responses to insect eggs are not induced by egg-associated microbes, but by a secretion attached to the eggs

Luis R Paniagua Voirol, Georgios Valsamakis, Vivien Lortzing, Arne Weinhold, Paul R Johnston, Nina E Fatouros, Reinhard Kunze, Monika Hilker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Plants can enhance their defence against herbivorous insects by responding to insect egg depositions preceding larval feeding. The similarity of plant responses to insect eggs with those to phytopathogens gave rise to the hypothesis that egg-associated microbes might act as elicitors. We tested this hypothesis by investigating first if elimination of microbes in the butterfly Pieris brassicae changes the responses of Brassica nigra and Arabidopsis thaliana to eggs and larvae of this insect species. An antibiotic treatment of butterflies mitigated the plant transcriptional response to the eggs and the egg-mediated enhancement of the plant's defence against larvae. However, application of cultivated microbial isolates from the eggs onto Arabidopsis thaliana did not enhance the plant's anti-herbivore defence. Instead, application of an egg-associated glandular secretion, which is attaching the eggs to the leaves, elicited the enhancing effect on the plant's defence against larvae. However, this effect was only achieved when the secretion was applied in similar quantities as released by control butterflies, but not when applied in the reduced quantity as released by antibiotic-treated butterflies. We conclude that glandular secretions rather than egg-associated microbes act in a dose-dependent manner as elicitor of the egg-mediated enhancement of the plant's defence against insect larvae.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1815-1826
Number of pages12
JournalPlant, Cell & Environment
Volume43
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents/pharmacology
  • Arabidopsis/microbiology
  • Butterflies/physiology
  • Exocrine Glands/metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Larva
  • Mustard Plant/microbiology
  • Ovum/drug effects
  • Plant Leaves

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