Indexed on: 18 Aug '16Published on: 18 Aug '16Published in: Journal of Chemical Ecology
Plants are commonly attacked by a variety of insect herbivores and have developed specific defenses against different types of attackers. At the molecular level, herbivore-specific signalling pathways are activated by plants in response to attackers with different feeding strategies. Feeding by leaf-chewing herbivores predominantly activates jasmonic acid (JA)-regulated defenses, whereas feeding by phloem-sucking herbivores generally activates salicylic acid (SA)-regulated defenses. When challenged sequentially by both phloem-sucking and leaf-chewing herbivores, SA-JA antagonism may constrain the plant's ability to timely and adequately divert defense to the second herbivore that requires activation of a different defensive pathway. We investigated the effect of the temporal sequence of infestation by the aphid Brevicoryne brassicae and three caterpillar species, Plutella xylostella, Pieris brassicae, and Mamestra brassicae, on the interaction between JA and SA signal-transduction pathways in three wild cabbage populations. We found no support for SA-JA antagonism, irrespective of the temporal sequence of herbivore introduction or the identity of the caterpillar species based on the transcript levels of the JA- and SA-regulated marker genes LOX and PR-1, respectively, at the examined time points, 6, 24, and 48 h. In general, infestation with aphids alone had little effect on the transcript levels of the two marker genes, whereas the three caterpillar species upregulated not only LOX but also PR-1. Transcriptional changes were different for plants from the three different natural cabbage populations.