Article: article from journal or magazin.
Arabidopsis glucosinolates trigger a contrasting transcriptomic response in a generalist and a specialist herbivore.
Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Phytophagous insects have to deal with toxic defense compounds from their host plants. Although it is known that insects have evolved genes and mechanisms to detoxify plant allochemicals, how specialist and generalist precisely respond to specific secondary metabolites at the molecular level is less understood. Here we studied the larval performance and transcriptome of the generalist moth Heliothis virescens and the specialist butterfly Pieris brassicae feeding on Arabidopsis thaliana genotypes with different glucosinolate (GS) levels. H. virescens larvae gained significantly more weight on the GS-deficient mutant quadGS compared to wild-type (Col-0) plants. On the contrary, P. brassicae was unaffected by the presence of GS and performed equally well on both genotypes. Strikingly, there was a considerable differential gene expression in H. virescens larvae feeding on Col-0 compared to quadGS. In contrast, compared to H. virescens, P. brassicae displayed a much-reduced transcriptional activation when fed on both plant genotypes. Transcripts coding for putative detoxification enzymes were significantly upregulated in H. virescens, along with digestive enzymes and transposable elements. These data provide an unprecedented view on transcriptional changes that are specifically activated by GS and illustrate differential molecular responses that are linked to adaptation to diet in lepidopteran herbivores.
Heliothis virescens, Pieris brassicae, Arabidopsis thaliana, Glucosinolates, Detoxification, Insect transcriptome
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