Project

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RNAi-controlled multitrophic processing of plant secondary metabolites

English title RNAi-controlled multitrophic processing of plant secondary metabolites
Applicant Erb Matthias
Number 155781
Funding scheme Temporary Backup Schemes
Research institution Institut für Pflanzenwissenschaften Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Ecology
Start/End 01.02.2015 - 31.01.2020
Approved amount 1'500'000.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Ecology
Botany
Zoology

Keywords (4)

RNAi; Diabrotica virgifera; Tritrophic interactions; Plant secondary metabolites

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Pflanzengifte können sowohl Herbivoren wie auch deren natürliche Frassfeinde beeinflussen. Ob und wie sich Frassfeinde sich an Pflanzengifte anpassen können ist nur unegnügend untersucht. Dieses Projekt leistet einen Beitrag zum Füllen dieser Wissenslücke.
Lay summary

Pflanzen produzieren Giftstoffe, um ihre Resistenz gegen Herbivoren zu erhöhen. Spezialisierte Schadinsekten haben aber die Fähigkeit entwickelt, die Giftstoffe aufzunehmen und ihrerseits als Abwehr gegen Nützlinge zu benutzen. Dies könnte die Fähigkeit der Nützlinge, Herbivoren zu kontrollieren, herabsetzen und in der Landwirttschaft in einer Verringerung der biologischen Schädlingsbekämpfungseffizienz gipfeln. Bis heute weiss man wenig über die Fähigkeit von Nützlingen, sich ihrerseits an Pflanzengifte anzupassen.

In diesem Projekt entwickeln wir Methoden, um pflanzliche Giftstoffe auf ihrem Weg von der Pflanzen in den Herbivoren und in die Nützlinge begleiten und manipulieren zu können. Wir benutzen dazu RNA Interferenz- Eine Methode die es uns erlaubt, die verschiedenen Organismen einzeln oder in Kombination zu verändern und so ihre Fähigkeit zur Giftstoffaufnahme und Toleranz zu beeinflussen.

Diese Methode verwenden wir anschliessend, um natürliche Nützlingspopulationen zu untersuchen und festzustellen ob und wie diese Nützlinge mit Pflanzengiften umgehen. Die gewonnen Erkenntnisse könnten eines Tages dabei helfen, die "richtigen" Nützlinge für die Landwirtschaft auszuwählen.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 14.01.2015

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Engineering bacterial symbionts of nematodes improves biocontrol potential of the western corn rootworm
Machado Ricardo A. R., Thönen Lisa, Arce Carla C. M., Theepan Vanitha, Prada Fausto, Wüthrich Daniel, Robert Christelle A. M., Vogiatzaki Evangelia, Shi Yi-Ming, Schaeren Olivier P., Notter Matheus, Bruggmann Rémy, Hapfelmeier Siegfried, Bode Helge B., Erb Matthias (2020), Engineering bacterial symbionts of nematodes improves biocontrol potential of the western corn rootworm, in Nature Biotechnology.
Plant defense resistance in natural enemies of a specialist insect herbivore
Zhang Xi, van Doan Cong, Arce Carla C. M., Hu Lingfei, Gruenig Sandra, Parisod Christian, Hibbard Bruce E., Hervé Maxime R., Nielson Chad, Robert Christelle A. M., Machado Ricardo A. R., Erb Matthias (2019), Plant defense resistance in natural enemies of a specialist insect herbivore, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(46), 23174-23181.
Photorhabdus khanii subsp. guanajuatensis subsp. nov., isolated from Heterorhabditis atacamensis, and Photorhabdus luminescens subsp. mexicana subsp. nov., isolated from Heterorhabditis mexicana entomopathogenic nematodes
Machado Ricardo A. R., Bruno Pamela, Arce Carla C. M., Liechti Nicole, Köhler Angela, Bernal Julio, Bruggmann Rémy, Turlings Ted C. J. (2019), Photorhabdus khanii subsp. guanajuatensis subsp. nov., isolated from Heterorhabditis atacamensis, and Photorhabdus luminescens subsp. mexicana subsp. nov., isolated from Heterorhabditis mexicana entomopathogenic nematodes, in International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, 69(3), 652-661.
Whole-genome-based revisit of Photorhabdus phylogeny: proposal for the elevation of most Photorhabdus subspecies to the species level and description of one novel species Photorhabdus bodei sp. nov., and one novel subspecies Photorhabdus laumondii subsp. clarkei subsp. nov.
Machado Ricardo A. R., Wüthrich Daniel, Kuhnert Peter, Arce Carla C. M., Thönen Lisa, Ruiz Celia, Zhang Xi, Robert Christelle A. M., Karimi Javad, Kamali Shokoofeh, Ma Juan, Bruggmann Rémy, Erb Matthias (2018), Whole-genome-based revisit of Photorhabdus phylogeny: proposal for the elevation of most Photorhabdus subspecies to the species level and description of one novel species Photorhabdus bodei sp. nov., and one novel subspecies Photorhabdus laumondii subsp. clarkei subsp. nov., in International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, 68(8), 2664-2681.
Sequestration and activation of plant toxins protect the western corn rootworm from enemies at multiple trophic levels
Robert Christelle AM, Zhang Xi, Machado Ricardo AR, Schirmer Stefanie, Lori Martina, Mateo Pierre, Erb Matthias, Gershenzon Jonathan (2017), Sequestration and activation of plant toxins protect the western corn rootworm from enemies at multiple trophic levels, in eLife, 6, e29307.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. Helge Bode. Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main. Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Swiss Plant Symposium Individual talk Engineering bacterial symbionts to resist plant toxins enhances the capacity of their nematode host to control an invasive agricultural insect pest. 29.01.2020 Ovronnaz, Switzerland. , Switzerland Erb Matthias; Machado Ruiz Ricardo Alberto;
10th Conference of Asia-Pacific Association of Chemical Ecologists (APACE) Talk given at a conference Evolution of plant defense resistance in natural enemies of an arthropod herbivore 09.10.2019 Hangzhou, China, China Machado Ruiz Ricardo Alberto; Zhang Xi; Erb Matthias;
10th Conference of Asia-Pacific Association of Chemical Ecologists (APACE) Talk given at a conference Root herbivores require intact carbon dioxide and sugar perception for optimal foraging 09.10.2019 Hangzhou, China, China Machado Ruiz Ricardo Alberto; Erb Matthias;
10th Conference of Asia-Pacific Association of Chemical Ecologists (APACE) Talk given at a conference Functional integration of plant secondary metabolites across three trophic levels 09.10.2019 Hangzhou, China, China Erb Matthias;
10th Conference of Asia-Pacific Association of Chemical Ecologists (APACE) Talk given at a conference Diabrotica virgifera virgifera females can sequester multiple plant toxins to protect their eggs against predators 09.10.2019 Hangzhou, China, China Erb Matthias; Machado Ruiz Ricardo Alberto;
New Phytologist next generation scientists 2019 Talk given at a conference Evolution of plant defense resistance in natural enemies of an arthropod herbivore 22.07.2019 Dublin, Ireland, Ireland Zhang Xi;
Ludwig-Maximilians Universität Munich Seminar Individual talk Genetic Architecture of benozoxazinoid resistance in Photorhabdus entomopathogens. Ludwig-Maximilians Universität Munich 21.06.2018 Ludwig-Maximilians Universität Munich, Germany Machado Ruiz Ricardo Alberto;
16th International Symposium on Insect-Plant Relationships Poster The wolf in sheep's clothing: Entomopathogenic nematodes attract their insect herbivore hosts by manipulating plant and cadaver odors 02.07.2017 Tours, France, France Zhang Xi; Erb Matthias; Machado Ruiz Ricardo Alberto;
1st INRESMinisymposium: Life in the underground- biotic and abiotic interactions in soil Talk given at a conference Secondary metabolites as determinants of root-herbivore interactions 07.09.2016 Bonn, Germany Erb Matthias;
32nd Symposium of the European Society of Nematologists (Braga, Portugal) Talk given at a conference Influence of maize secondary metabolites on the entomopatogenic nematode Heterorhabditis bacteriophora and its symbiotic bacteria Photorhabdus luminescens 28.08.2016 Braga, Portugal Erb Matthias; Machado Ruiz Ricardo Alberto;
Scandinavian Plant Physiology Society (SPPS) PhD Student Conference 2016 Talk given at a conference The Essential Roles of Plant Secondary Metabolites in Plant Environment Interactions 20.06.2016 Oslo, Norway Erb Matthias;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media How nematodes outsmart the defenses of pests Media Release UniBe International 2019
Video/Film I am Xi, I am international International 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Maize pest exploits plant defense compounds to protect itself Media Release UniBe International 2017

Awards

Title Year
PhD Award in Biology from the Faculty of Sciences, University of Bern 2020
Best Oral Presentation Award, 10th Conference of Asia-Pacific Association of Chemical Ecologists 2019
Best Oral Presentation Award, Biology Day University of Bern 2016

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
183365 Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography-High Resolution Tandem Mass Spectrometry (UHPLC-HRMS/MS) for metabolomics and identification of bioactive molecules 01.10.2019 R'EQUIP
153517 Latex secondary metabolites as determinants of root-herbivore foraging in nature 01.04.2014 Project funding (Div. I-III)
152613 Understanding plant-mediated interactions between two major maize pests of Eastern Europe- From phytochemical patterns to management recommendations 01.05.2014 SCOPES
160786 Sugar wars: Glucose-mediated activation, neutralization and re-activation of defensive metabolites in a soil tritrophic system 01.10.2015 Sinergia

Abstract

Trophic links between producers, consumers and their natural enemies determine ecosystem properties and crop yields. Plant secondary metabolites influence link strength by determining food consumption by herbivores and predation efficacy by natural enemies. Adapted herbivores hijack plant toxins for self defense against predators. If and how adapted predators and parasitoids may deal with herbivore-sequestered plant toxins in turn has not been well studied. This project aims at establishing an original RNAi approach to study plant secondary metabolite processing in tritrophic interactions. By engineering microbes as efficient and versatile dsRNA delivery vectors for herbivore and predator gene silencing, I will unravel molecular third trophic level adaptations to plant toxins and thereby provide vital information for the development of enhanced bio control agents to fight a major agricultural pest.
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