Local and systemic transcriptional responses to crosstalk between above- and belowground herbivores in Arabidopsis thaliana

Magdalene Kutyniok, Andrea Viehhauser, Marc Oliver Vogel, Karl-Josef Dietz, Caroline Müller
Plant Signaling & Behavior 2014, 9 (11): e976113
Plants are often simultaneously infested by several herbivores at the shoots and roots. Recent results revealed that the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana shows highly challenge-specific local and systemic responses to individual and simultaneous attacks of shoot-infesting aphids and root-infesting nematodes at the metabolome level. (1) Here, we present the corresponding transcriptional changes in plants treated with Brevicoryne brassicae aphids and Heterodera schachtii nematodes individually and in combination. Overall, shoots were much less responsive than roots. Gene expression in shoots and roots was mainly altered by aphids. Nematode infestation alone had only little effect, but nematodes modified the transcript accumulation response to aphids particularly in the roots. The responding genes are involved in plant defense cascades, signaling, oxidation-reduction processes, as well as primary and secondary metabolism and degradation. These changes in transcription may become relevant for the herbivores when they are translated into changes in host plant quality.

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