The composite effect of transgenic plant volatiles for acquired immunity to herbivory caused by Inter-Plant communications

Atsushi Muroi, Abdelaziz Ramadan, Masahiro Nishihara, Masaki Yamamoto, Rika Ozawa, Junji Takabayashi, Gen ichiro Arimura

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A blend of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from plants induced by herbivory enables the priming of defensive responses in neighboring plants. These effects may provide insights useful for pest control achieved with transgenic-plant-emitted volatiles. We therefore investigated, under both laboratory and greenhouse conditions, the priming of defense responses in plants (lima bean and corn) by exposing them to transgenic-plant-volatiles (VOCos) including (E)-β-ocimene, emitted from transgenic tobacco plants (NtOS2) that were constitutively overexpressing (E)-β-ocimene synthase. When lima bean plants that had previously been placed downwind of NtOS2 in an open-flow tunnel were infested by spider mites, they were more defensive to spider mites and more attractive to predatory mites, in comparison to the infested plants that had been placed downwind of wild-type tobacco plants. This was similarly observed when the NtOS2-downwind maize plants were infested with Mythimna separata larvae, resulting in reduced larval growth and greater attraction of parasitic wasps (Cotesia kariyai). In a greenhouse experiment, we also found that lima bean plants (VOCos-receiver plants) placed near NtOS2 were more attractive when damaged by spider mites, in comparison to the infested plants that had been placed near the wild-type plants. More intriguingly, VOCs emitted from infested VOCos-receiver plants affected their conspecific neighboring plants to prime indirect defenses in response to herbivory. Altogether, these data suggest that transgenic-plant-emitted volatiles can enhance the ability to prime indirect defenses via both plant-plant and plant-plant-plant communications.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere24594
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2011

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