PhD thesis: a PhD thesis.
Recognition of insect eggs in Arabidopsis modulates defense responses
Université de Lausanne, Faculté de biologie et médecine
Faculté de biologie et de médecineUniversité de LausanneUNIL - BugnonRue du Bugnon 21 - bureau 4111CH-1015 LausanneSUISSE
Number of pages
Plants activate direct and indirect defenses in response to insect egg deposition. In Arabidopsis thaliana, oviposition by the butterfly Pieris brassicae triggers cellular and molecular changes that are similar to the changes caused by biotrophic pathogens. Even though this innate immune response did not affect egg survival in Arabidopsis, we could show that different insect eggs elicit specific gene expression changes. Additionally, egg- induced necrosis could be observed in a variety of plants from different families ranging from dicotyledonous plants to monocots, suggesting that insect-egg detection by plants is a widespread mechanism and that different insect species contain elicitors of immune responses. Extracts from caterpillars and eggs contain elicitors that co-purified over several extraction steps. Chemical fractionation of caterpillar extracts lead to the characterisation of an active compound that was determined to be a triglyceride by NMR analysis. The exact structure of the side chains as well as the elicitor's presence in insect eggs have yet to be confirmed.We also found that the plant defense signal salicylic acid (SA) accumulates at the site of oviposition. This is unexpected, as the SA pathway controls the defense against fungal and bacterial pathogens whereas it negatively interacts with the jasmonic acid (JA) pathway, which is crucial for the defense against herbivores. Application of P. brassicae or Spodoptera littoralis egg extract onto leaves reduced the induction of insect-responsive genes after challenge with caterpillars, suggesting that egg-derived elicitors suppress plant defense. Consequently, larval growth of the generalist herbivore S. littoralis, but not of the specialist P. brassicae, was significantly higher on plants treated with egg extract than on control plants. In contrast, suppression of gene induction and enhanced S. littoralis performance were not found in the SA-deficient mutant sid2-l, indicating that SA mediates this phenomenon. These data reveal an intriguing facet of the crosstalk between SA- and JA-signalling pathways and suggest that insects have evolved a way to suppress the induction of defense genes by laying eggs that release elicitors. Additionally, we demonstrated that mutants of known crosstalk regulators, including nprl-1, tga2356, ein2-l and wrky70-l, are not affected in egg-induced suppression of herbivore defenses. JA treatment was not able to alleviate this SA/JA negative crosstalk, suggesting that this suppression operates through a novel mechanism downstream of JA biosynthesis.
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