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Benzoxazinoid derivatives at the plant-insect interface: An integrated approach to understand a metabolic network

English title Benzoxazinoid derivatives at the plant-insect interface: An integrated approach to understand a metabolic network
Applicant Turlings Théodoor
Number 136184
Funding scheme Sinergia
Research institution Institut de Biologie Université de Neuchâtel
Institution of higher education University of Neuchatel - NE
Main discipline Botany
Start/End 01.10.2011 - 30.09.2015
Approved amount 1'600'000.00
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All Disciplines (6)

Discipline
Botany
Biochemistry
Zoology
Organic Chemistry
Molecular Biology
Ecology

Keywords (9)

plant defense; herbivore counter defense; plant-insect interactions; secondary metabolites; benzoxazinoids; Zea mays; Spodoptera frugiperda; pest control; detoxification

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

To ward off an attack by herbivorous insects, plants produce a variety of toxic or repulsive compounds. However, specialized insects have developed counter-strategies to deal with these defence compounds, which explains why many of these insects have become agricultural pests. It is becoming increasingly clear that these plant-insect interactions can only be understood by investigating the function of plant toxins from the perspective of the plant and the insect simultaneously. In a preliminary study carried out in the FARCE laboratory at the University of Neuchâtel, we have demonstrated that benzoxazinoids (BXDs), a specific class of nitrogen-containing secondary metabolites produced by grasses, strongly affect the metabolism, the behaviour and the fitness of an important, highly specialized pest of maize: caterpillars of the moth Spodoptera frugiperda. We have found that maize changes its BXD production after detecting caterpillar feeding, and that Spodoptera frugiperda has evolved mechanisms to circumvent their negative effects. The BXD-mediated interaction between maize and Spodoptera caterpillars complex an ideal model to study the role of plant secondary metabolites at the interface between plants and insects. The current project brings together knowledge from molecular biology, plant and insect biochemistry, phytochemistry, ecology and behaviour, as well as agricultural sciences to track the fate of BXDs from their production in the plant to their conversion inside the target insect. By using such a highly interdisciplinary, cross-species approach we will be able to elucidate the precise role of BXDs in plant-insect interactions. As BXDs consume a significant fraction of the nitrogen available to a plant, but at the same time serve as a potentially important barrier against pests, our study goes beyond purely fundamental research and opens up interesting possibilities for application in agriculture. The project is headed by UniNE, represented by the FARCE laboratory and the Analytical Chemistry Service of the Swiss Plant Science Web, and involves partners from the Federal Research Station Agroscope Changins-Wädenswil, the University of Geneva and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena (Germany).

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Biosynthesis of 8-O-methylated benzoxazinoid defense compounds in maize
Handrick Vinzenz, Robert Christelle A.M., Ahern Kevin R, Zhou Shaoqun, Machado Ricardo A.R., Maag Daniel, Glauser Gaétan, Fernandez-Penny Felix E., Chandran Jima N., Rodgers-Melnick Eli, Schneider Bernd, Buckler Edward S., Boland Wilhelm, Gershenzon Jonathan, Jander Georg, Erb Matthias, Köllner Tobias G (2016), Biosynthesis of 8-O-methylated benzoxazinoid defense compounds in maize, in The Plant Cell, 28 (7), 1682-1700.
Herbivore intoxication as a potential primary function of an inducible volatile plant signal
Veyrat Nathalie, Robert Christelle Aurélie Maud, Turlings Ted Christiaan Johannes, Erb Matthias (2016), Herbivore intoxication as a potential primary function of an inducible volatile plant signal, in Journal of Ecology, 104(2), 591-600.
Highly localized and persistent induction of Bx1-dependent herbivore resistance factors in maize
Maag Daniel, Köhler Angela, Robert Christelle A.M., Frey Monika, Wolfender Jean-Luc, Turlings Ted C.J., Glauser Gaétan, Erb Matthias (2016), Highly localized and persistent induction of Bx1-dependent herbivore resistance factors in maize, in The Plant Journal, tpj.13308.
Indole is an essential herbivore-induced volatile priming signal in maize
Erb Matthias, Veyrat Nathalie, Robert Christelle A. M., Xu Hao, Frey Monika, Ton Jurriaan, Turlings Ted C. J. (2015), Indole is an essential herbivore-induced volatile priming signal in maize, in Nature Communications, 6, 6273.
Maize Domestication and Anti-Herbivore Defences: Leaf-Specific Dynamics during Early Ontogeny of Maize and Its Wild Ancestors
Maag Daniel, Erb Matthias, Bernal Julio S., Wolfender Jean-Luc, Turlings Ted C. J., Glauser Gaetan (2015), Maize Domestication and Anti-Herbivore Defences: Leaf-Specific Dynamics during Early Ontogeny of Maize and Its Wild Ancestors, in PLOS ONE, 10(8), e0135722.
Within-plant distribution of 1,4-benzoxazin-3-ones contributes to herbivore niche differentiation in maize.
Köhler Angela, Maag Daniel, Veyrat Nathalie, Glauser Gaétan, Wolfender Jean-Luc, Turlings Ted C J, Erb Matthias (2015), Within-plant distribution of 1,4-benzoxazin-3-ones contributes to herbivore niche differentiation in maize., in Plant, cell & environment, 38, 1081-1093.
3-β-d-Glucopyranosyl-6-methoxy-2-benzoxazolinone (MBOA-N-Glc) is an insect detoxification product of maize 1,4-benzoxazin-3-ones.
Maag Daniel, Dalvit Claudio, Thevenet Damien, Köhler Angela, Wouters Felipe C, Vassão Daniel G, Gershenzon Jonathan, Wolfender Jean-Luc, Turlings Ted C J, Erb Matthias, Glauser Gaetan (2014), 3-β-d-Glucopyranosyl-6-methoxy-2-benzoxazolinone (MBOA-N-Glc) is an insect detoxification product of maize 1,4-benzoxazin-3-ones., in Phytochemistry, 102, 97-105.
Defensive weapons and defense signals: Some plant metabolites serve both roles
Maag Daniel, Erb Matthias, Köllner Tobias G., Gershenzon Jonathan (2014), Defensive weapons and defense signals: Some plant metabolites serve both roles, in BioEssays, 37(2), 167-174.
Reglucosylation of the Benzoxazinoid DIMBOA with Inversion of Stereochemical Configuration is a Detoxification Strategy in Lepidopteran Herbivores.
Wouters Felipe C, Reichelt Michael, Glauser Gaétan, Bauer Eugen, Erb Matthias, Gershenzon Jonathan, Vassão Daniel G (2014), Reglucosylation of the Benzoxazinoid DIMBOA with Inversion of Stereochemical Configuration is a Detoxification Strategy in Lepidopteran Herbivores., in Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English), 53, 11320-11324.
Differences in 1,4-benzoxazin-3-one profile and induction during growth of young maize affect foraging patterns of leaf herbivores
Maag Daniel, Köhler Angela, Glauser Gaëtan, Erb Matthias, Wolfender Jean-Luc, Turlings Ted (2013), Differences in 1,4-benzoxazin-3-one profile and induction during growth of young maize affect foraging patterns of leaf herbivores, in IOBC-WPRS Bulletin , 89, 249-252.
Metabolomics reveals herbivore-induced metabolites of resistance and susceptibility in maize leaves and roots
Marti G, Erb M, Boccard J, Glauser G, Doyen GA, Villard N, Turlings TCJ, Rudaz S, Wolfender JL (2013), Metabolomics reveals herbivore-induced metabolites of resistance and susceptibility in maize leaves and roots, in Plant, Cell & Environment, 36(3), 621-639.
Natural Variation in Maize Aphid Resistance Is Associated with 2,4-Dihydroxy-7-Methoxy-1,4-Benzoxazin-3-One Glucoside Methyltransferase Activity
Meihls Lisa N., Handrick Vinzenz, Glauser Gaëtan, Barbier Hugues, Kaur Harleen, Haribal Meena M., Lipka Alexander E., Gershenzon Jonathan, Buckler Edward S., Erb Matthias, Köllner Tobias G., Jander Georg (2013), Natural Variation in Maize Aphid Resistance Is Associated with 2,4-Dihydroxy-7-Methoxy-1,4-Benzoxazin-3-One Glucoside Methyltransferase Activity, in The Plant Cell, 25(6), 2341-2355.
A specialist root herbivore exploits defensive metabolites to locate nutritious tissues
Robert CAM, Veyrat N, Glauser G, Marti G, Doyen GR, Villard N, Gaillard MDP, Kollner TG, Giron D, Body M, Babst BA, Ferrieri RA, Turlings TCJ, Erb M (2012), A specialist root herbivore exploits defensive metabolites to locate nutritious tissues, in ECOLOGY LETTERS, 15(1), 55-64.
Induction and detoxification of maize 1,4-benzoxazin-3-ones by insect herbivores
Glauser G, Marti G, Villard N, Doyen GA, Wolfender JL, Turlings TC, Erb M (2011), Induction and detoxification of maize 1,4-benzoxazin-3-ones by insect herbivores, in The Plant Journal, 68, 901-911.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
University of Missouri (Dr. Bruce Hibbard) United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Cornell University (Dr. Georg Jander) United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
5th Brazilian Conference on Natural Products – XXXI RESEM (speaker Felipe Wouters) Talk given at a conference Detoxification of Maize Chemical Defenses by Lepidopteran Herbivores 26.10.2015 Atibaia, Brazil Gershenzon Jonathan; Wouters Felipe Christoff;
5th Brazilian Conference on Natural Products – XXXI RESEM (poster Felipe Wouters) Poster Detoxification of Maize Chemical Defenses by Lepidopteran Herbivores 26.10.2015 Atibaia, Brazil Wouters Felipe Christoff; Gershenzon Jonathan;
ICE Symposium, MPI for Chemical Ecology (poster Felipe Wouters) Poster Detoxification of maize benzoxazinoids by lepidopteran herbivores 24.09.2015 Jena, Germany Wouters Felipe Christoff; Gershenzon Jonathan;
IOBC-WPRS International Workshop "PR Proteins and Induced Resistance against Pathogens and Insects" (poster Noémie Chervet) Poster Effects of Bx10c inactivation and methyl jasmonate application on maize fitness and pests, and their impacts on specific benzoxazinoid derivatives 06.09.2015 Aachen, Germany Steinger Thomas; Villard Neil; Chervet Noémie; Turlings Théodoor; Klötzli Françoise;
The Phytochemical Society of North America 2015 Meeting, University of Illinois (speaker Felipe Wouters) Talk given at a conference Detoxification of Maize Chemical Defenses by Lepidopteran Herbivores 10.08.2015 Urbana-Champaign, IL, United States of America Gershenzon Jonathan; Wouters Felipe Christoff;
Annual meeting of the International Society of Chemical Ecology (Silverstein-Simeone lecture Ted Turlings) Talk given at a conference Exploiting plant distress signals for crop protection 29.06.2015 Stockholm, Sweden Turlings Théodoor;
57th Annual Maize Genetics Conference (speaker Vinzenz Handrick) Talk given at a conference Elucidation of the final steps of benzoxazinoid formation in maize 12.03.2015 St. Charles, Illinois, United States of America Handrick Vinzenz;
14th IMPRS Symposium, MPI for Chemical Ecology (speaker Felipe Wouters) Talk given at a conference Through the Looking-Glass, and What Spodoptera Found There – Detoxification of Maize Chemical Defenses 26.02.2015 Dornburg, Germany Gershenzon Jonathan; Wouters Felipe Christoff;
14th IMPRS Symposium, MPI for Chemical Ecology (poster Vinzenz Handrick) Poster Benzoxazinoids: Biosynthesis and function of major defense compounds in maize 25.02.2015 Dornburg, Germany Handrick Vinzenz; Gershenzon Jonathan;
ESA 62nd Annual Meeting (speaker Daniel Maag) Talk given at a conference Spodopteracaterpillars neutralize maize chemical defenses by converting a toxic 1,4-benzoxazin-3-one breakdown product to non-toxic 3-ß-D-glucopyranosyl-6-methoxy-2-benzoxazolinone (MBOA-N-Glc) 16.11.2014 Portland, OR, United States of America Wolfender Jean-Luc; Gershenzon Jonathan; Maag Daniel; Turlings Théodoor; Köhler Angela; Wouters Felipe Christoff;
Annual Symposium of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology 2014 (poster F. C. Wouters) Poster Detoxification of the maize benzoxazinoid DIMBOA by lepidopteran herbivores 11.09.2014 Jena, Germany Wouters Felipe Christoff;
PSC Summer School “Green Revolution Reloaded: Emerging Technologies for Sustainable Crop Production” (Poster D. Maag) Poster 3-β-D-glucopyranosyl-6-methoxy-2-benzoxazolinone – A novel detoxification product of maize benzoxazinoid derivatives in Spodoptera spp. 07.09.2014 Einsiedeln, Switzerland Maag Daniel;
SIP 15 - 15th International Symposium on Insect-Plant Relationships, University Neuchatel (speaker Vinzenz Handrick) Talk given at a conference Benzoxazinoids: Biosynthesis and function of major defense compounds in maize. 17.08.2014 Neuchâtel, Switzerland Handrick Vinzenz;
SIP 15 - 15th International Symposium on Insect-Plant Relationships (Poster D. Maag) Poster 3-β-D-glucopyranosyl-6-methoxy-2-benzoxazolinone – A novel detoxification product of maize benzoxazinoid derivatives in Spodoptera spp. 17.08.2014 Neuchâtel, Switzerland Maag Daniel; Turlings Théodoor;
SIP 15 - 15th International Symposium on Insect-Plant Relationships (invited speaker Gaétan Glauser)) Talk given at a conference Metabolomics for studying plant-insect interactions: help or hype? 17.08.2014 Neuchâtel, Switzerland Turlings Théodoor;
ECE 2014 - 10th European Congress of Entomology (invited speaker Matthias Erb) Talk given at a conference The western corn rootworm as a model for rhizosphere chemical ecology 03.08.2014 York, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Turlings Théodoor; Gershenzon Jonathan;
ERA-CAPS kickoff meeting, University Bern (speaker Tobias G. Köllner) Talk given at a conference Herbivore-induced formation of benzoxazinoid derivatives in maize 02.08.2014 Bern, Switzerland Gershenzon Jonathan;
ISCE-CSIV 2014 - 30th annual meeting of the International Society of Chemical Ecology (invited speaker Matthias Erb) Talk given at a conference Plant secondary metabolite hijacking by a specialist root herbivore: from basic understanding to pest control implications 08.07.2014 Champaign Urbana, United States of America Gershenzon Jonathan; Turlings Théodoor;
ISCE-CSIV 2014 - joint meeting of the International Society of Chemical Ecology and the Chemical Signals in Vertebrates group (speaker Ted Turlings) Talk given at a conference Protecting crops by exploring and exploiting plant-mediated tritrophic interactions in the rhizosphere 08.07.2014 Champaign Urbana, United States of America Turlings Théodoor;
Annual meeting of the Society of Experimental Biology (SEB)(speaker Ted Turlings) Talk given at a conference Applying chemical ecology to explain and resolve insect pest problems in maize 30.06.2014 Manchester, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Turlings Théodoor;
4th Banff Conference on Plant Metabolism (speaker Vinzenz Handrick) Talk given at a conference Benzoxazinoids: Biosynthesis and function of major defense compounds in maize 29.06.2014 Alberta, Canada Handrick Vinzenz;
SAB Meeting 2014, MPI for Chemical Ecology (poster Tobias G. Köllner) Poster The metabolism and biological roles of nitrogenous defense compounds in trees and grasses 15.05.2014 Jena, Germany Gershenzon Jonathan;
SAB Meeting 2014, MPI for Chemical Ecology (poster F. C. Wouters) Poster Detoxification and Mode of Action of Plant Defenses in Insect Herbivores 15.05.2014 Jena, Germany Wouters Felipe Christoff;
13th IMPRS Symposium, MPI for Chemical Ecology (poster F. C. Wouters) Poster Detoxification of benzoxazinoids – how lepidopteran herbivores cope with maize chemical defenses 27.02.2014 Jena, Germany Wouters Felipe Christoff;
13th IMPRS Symposium, MPI for Chemical Ecology (Speaker Vinzenz Handrick) Talk given at a conference Tracking the benzoxazinoid pathway in maize 27.02.2014 Dornburg, Germany Handrick Vinzenz;
32nd New Phytologist Symposium: Plant interactions with other organisms: molecules, ecology and evolution (speaker Ted Turlings) Talk given at a conference Plant-mediated trophic interactions in the rhizosphere 20.11.2013 Buenos Aires, Argentina Turlings Théodoor;
Plant interactions with other organisms: Molecules, ecology and evolution”, 32nd New Phytologist Symposium (Poster D. Maag) Poster 3-β-D-glucopyranosyl-6-methoxy-2-benzoxazolinone – A novel detoxification product of maize benzoxazinoid derivatives in Spodoptera spp. 20.11.2013 Buenos Aires, Argentina Maag Daniel; Turlings Théodoor;
32nd New Phytologist Symposium: Plant interactions with other organisms: molecules, ecology and evolution (Poster D. Maag) Poster Do induced benzoxazinoids mediate spatial feeding patterns of maize herbivores? 20.11.2013 Buenos Aires, Argentina Maag Daniel; Turlings Théodoor;
Seminar Series of the NAP-PN (Support Nucleus of Natural Product Molecular Diversity Research), University of São Paulo (speaker D. G. Vassão) Talk given at a conference Toxicity and detoxification of plant chemical defenses in insect pests 18.11.2013 São Paulo, Brazil Wouters Felipe Christoff;
Entomology 2013, 61st Annual Meeting, Entomological Society of America (speaker Matthias Erb) Talk given at a conference Plant metabolic links between leaf and root feeding insects: Who is running the show? 10.11.2013 Austin TX, United States of America Gershenzon Jonathan; Turlings Théodoor;
4th Brazilian Conference on Natural Products (speaker D. G. Vassão) Talk given at a conference Toxicity and Detoxification of Plant Chemical Defenses in Insect Pests 30.10.2013 Natal, Brazil Wouters Felipe Christoff;
Annual Symposium of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology 2013 (poster F. C. Wouters) Poster Detoxification and mode of action of plant defenses in insect herbivores 11.09.2013 Jena, Germany Wouters Felipe Christoff; Gershenzon Jonathan;
Annual Symposium of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology 2013 (poster V. Handrick) Poster An O-Methyltransferase Activity Causes Variation in Maize Aphid Resistance 11.09.2013 Jena, Germany Gershenzon Jonathan; Handrick Vinzenz;
Annual Symposium of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology 2013 (speaker Daniel G. Vassão) Talk given at a conference Toxicity and detoxification of plant chemical defenses by insect herbivores 11.09.2013 Jena, Germany Gershenzon Jonathan;
EuroVOL Summer School 2013: Plant Volatiles: from lab bench to application (poster A. Köhler) Poster Local induction of chemical defenses in maize: caterpillar responses to within-leaf gradients of benzoxazinoid derivatives 09.09.2013 Les Diablerets, Switzerland Köhler Angela; Turlings Théodoor; Maag Daniel;
EuroVOL Summer School 2013: Plant Volatiles: from lab bench to application (poster N. Chervet) Poster Effects of benzoxazinoid derivates on oviposition choice in Ostrinia nubilalis moths 09.09.2013 Les Diablerets, Switzerland Chervet Noémie;
EuroVOL Summer School 2013: Plant Volatiles: from lab bench to application (poster D. Maag) Poster Leaf herbivore foraging patterns in maize are associated with 1,4-benzoxazinone profiles 09.09.2013 Les Diablerets, Switzerland Köhler Angela; Wolfender Jean-Luc; Turlings Théodoor; Maag Daniel;
7th EPSO Conference “Plants for a Greening Economy” (invited speaker Matthias Erb) Talk given at a conference Signaling in plant-insect interactions 01.09.2013 Porto Heli, Greece Gershenzon Jonathan; Turlings Théodoor;
International Chemical Ecology Conference 2013 (speaker T. Turlings) Talk given at a conference Using chemical ecology to improve the biological control of root pests with entomopathogenic nematodes 20.08.2013 Melbourne, Australia Turlings Théodoor;
International Chemical Ecology Conference 2013 (speaker G. Glauser) Talk given at a conference Metabolomics reveals herbivore and pathogen-induced metabolites of resistance and susceptibility in maize 20.08.2013 Melbourne, Australia Turlings Théodoor;
52nd Annual Meeting of the Phytochemical Society of North America (speaker Daniel G. Vassão) Talk given at a conference Toxicity and detoxification of plant chemical defenses in insect pests 03.08.2013 Corvallis, OR, United States of America Gershenzon Jonathan;
6th meeting of the IOBC-WPRS Working Group "Induced resistance in plants against insects and diseases" (poster N. Chervet) Poster Influence of inducible benzoxazinoid derivatives in maize on larval dispersal of the European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis) 10.06.2013 Avignon, France Chervet Noémie;
6th meeting of the IOBC-WPRS Working Group "Induced resistance in plants against insects and diseases" (poster D. Maag & A. Köhler) Poster Leaf herbivore foraging patterns in maize are associated with 1,4-benzoxazinone profiles 10.06.2013 Avignon, France Turlings Théodoor; Maag Daniel; Wolfender Jean-Luc; Köhler Angela;
9th Plant Science Student Conference - PSSC 2013 (speaker V. Handrick) Talk given at a conference Biosynthesis of induced defense compounds in corn: Methylation of DIMBOA-Glc 29.05.2013 Halle (Saale), Germany Handrick Vinzenz;
Annual PhD meeting of the Doctoral Program in Organismal Biology (poster D. Maag) Poster Local induction of chemical defences in maize: Spatio-temporal aspects of benzoxazinone metabolism 02.05.2013 Neuchâtel, Switzerland Turlings Théodoor; Wolfender Jean-Luc; Handrick Vinzenz; Maag Daniel;
IMPRS Evaluation (International Max Planck Research School) (poster V. Handrick) Poster Induced defense compounds in corn: Methylation of DIMBOA-Glc 23.04.2013 Jena, Germany Maag Daniel; Handrick Vinzenz; Gershenzon Jonathan;
Gordon Research Conference “Plant-Herbivore Interactions” (poster A.Köhler) Poster Local induction of chemical defenses in maize: caterpillar responses to within-leaf gradients of benzoxazinoid derivatives 24.02.2013 Ventura CA, United States of America Köhler Angela; Turlings Théodoor; Maag Daniel;
Gordon Research Conference “Plant-Herbivore Interactions” (poster F.C. Wouters) Poster DIMBOA reglucosylation as a detoxification strategy in lepidopteran herbivores feeding on maize 24.02.2013 Ventura, CA, United States of America Gershenzon Jonathan; Wouters Felipe Christoff;
Final scientific meeting of the NCCR Plant Survival (poster A. Köhler) Poster Responses of maize to insect herbivores: compensatory growth following leaf attack? 23.01.2013 Neuchâtel, Switzerland Turlings Théodoor; Köhler Angela;
Final scientific meeting of the NCCR Plant Survival (poster D. Maag) Poster Local induction of chemical defences in maize: Spatio-temporal aspects of benzoxazinone metabolism 23.01.2013 Neuchâtel, Switzerland Maag Daniel; Turlings Théodoor; Handrick Vinzenz; Wolfender Jean-Luc;
Advances in Natural Product Analysis (speaker G. Glauser) Talk given at a conference Metabolomics in the quest for bioactive natural products 22.11.2012 Grasse, France Turlings Théodoor;
JSPS Core-to-Core Meeting, Max Planck Institute Chemical Ecology (speaker A. Köhler) Talk given at a conference Responses of generalist and specialist insect herbivores to maize benzoxazinoid derivatives 15.10.2012 Jena, Germany Turlings Théodoor; Köhler Angela;
4th ENDURE Summer School "Agroecological engineering for crop protection" (speaker N. Chervet) Talk given at a conference The role of Benzoxazinoid derivatives in plant resistance to crop pests 07.10.2012 Volterra, Italy Chervet Noémie;
SAB Meeting 2012, MPI for Chemical Ecology (poster F. C. Wouters) Poster Detoxification and Mode of Action of Plant Defenses in Insect Herbivores 01.10.2012 Jena, Germany Wouters Felipe Christoff; Gershenzon Jonathan;
International Congress of Entomology (speaker T. Turlings) Talk given at a conference A first step towards the control of a major root pest: using chemical ecology to understand why it is a pest 19.08.2012 Daegu, Korean Republic (South Korea) Turlings Théodoor;
International Society of Chemical Ecology - Annual meeting 2012 (speaker M. Erb) Talk given at a conference How to become a successful root pest in three simple steps - A beginner’s guide 22.07.2012 Vilnius, Lithuania Gershenzon Jonathan;
Society for Experimental Biology SEB, Annual Main Meeting 2012 (speaker M. Erb) Talk given at a conference How to become a successful root pest in three simple steps – a beginner’s guide 29.06.2012 Salzburg, Austria Gershenzon Jonathan;
Gordon Research Conference "Plant Volatiles" (speaker T. Turlings) Talk given at a conference Selecting entomopathogenic nematodes for increased effectiveness in biological control using plant volatiles 29.01.2012 Ventura CA, United States of America Turlings Théodoor;
Waters MS Technology Day (speaker G. Glauser) Talk given at a conference Untargeted LC/MS metabolomics for studying the interactions between maize and insect pests 14.10.2011 Basel, Switzerland Turlings Théodoor;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Insects fight back: detoxification of maize defense metabolites increases performance of adapted her C3E Newsletter 1/2015 (Centre of Competence in Chemical Ecology, UniNE) International 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Playing tag with sugars in the cornfield Press Release, PULS/CE Newsletter of Life Sciences/Chemical Ecology), Issue 24, November 2014 International 2014
Media relations: print media, online media To Outwit Plant Defenses, Hungry Caterpillars Turn Chemists C&EN Magazine, Issue 40 International 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions Conference Fascination of Plants Day, Jena, Germany (speaker: M. Erb) International 2012
Video/Film Schlau wie ein Baum – Wie Pflanzen sich gegen Schädlinge wehren International 2012

Awards

Title Year
Student Travel Award for Felipe Christoff Wouters at The Phytochemical Society of North America 2015 Meeting, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL, US 2015
Student Travel Award for Vinzenz Handrick 4th Banff Conference on Plant Metabolism, Alberta, Canada, June 2014 2014
Award for best student poster presentation at IOBC-WPRS Conference, Avignon, France (Daniel Maag) 2013

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
128909 NCCR Plant Survival: Plant Survival in Natural and Agricultural Ecosystems (phase III) 01.04.2009 National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCRs)
160786 Sugar wars: Glucose-mediated activation, neutralization and re-activation of defensive metabolites in a soil tritrophic system 01.10.2015 Sinergia
162860 Agricultural practices and the cascading effects of apparent competition: A case study of trophic interactions on cultivated maize and wild lima bean plants. 01.10.2016 Project funding (Div. I-III)
157884 Supercritical fluid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry as a new analytical tool for plant sciences 01.06.2015 R'EQUIP
158563 The inconspicuous in a conspicuous world: visualizing hidden aspects of butterfly biology and ecology at the Papiliorama 01.04.2015 Agora

Abstract

In order to grow and develop, many organisms, including insect herbivores, have to ingest and convert plant metabolomes to suit their own nutritional needs. A widespread counter-strategy of plants is to resist herbivory by producing toxic or inhibitory secondary metabolites. It is becoming increasingly clear that the plant metabolism responds dynamically to insect feeding, and specialized insects in turn have evolved mechanisms to quickly counteract these chemical defense responses in host plants, which leads to interdependent, iterative metabolic interactions. To determine the actual metabolic drivers of the interactions between plants and insects, it is therefore necessary to investigate their metabolism simultaneously. Because this can only be achieved within an interdisciplinary approach, few attempts have been made in this direction.Here, we propose to study benzoxazinoid derivatives (BXDs), an important class of nitrogen-containing defensive secondary metabolites in maize (Zea mays) in both plants and insect herbivores. Our unpublished results show that BXDs represent an ideal pilot model to investigate the plant-insect interface, as they react dynamically to insect attack in planta and are actively influencing the metabolism, behavior and fitness of lepidopteran maize pests, including Spodptera frugiperda and Ostrinia nubilalis. Biosynthetic mutants and genomic sequence databases are available for both plants and herbivores, making it possible to use targeted genetic manipulation to understand the system in depth. Because of the apparent potential of BXDs to reduce leaf damage by insects, they are not only of considerable interest for a fundamental understanding of plant-insect ecology, but also for application in agriculture. The project unites the expertise of the University of Neuchâtel (Chemical Ecology and Behavior; Subproject A), the agricultural research station Agroscope Changins-Wädenswil (Agroecology & Pest Control; Subproject B), the University of Geneva and the Chemical Analytical Service of the Swiss Plant Science Web (Analytical Chemistry, Subproject C) and the Max Planck Institute of Chemical Ecology (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Subproject D). Investigating the metabolism and ecological consequences of BXDs in maize and herbivores simultaneously will enable us to:i) Construct a detailed, dynamic metabolic map of BXDs at the plant insect interface ii) Analyze and manipulate the biochemistry of the observed metabolic changesiii) Investigate their impact on plant and insect behavior iv) Assess the potential of exploiting BXDs for pest controlWe expect that our project will contribute significantly to the advancement of the understanding of an important frontier in plant-insect interactions. The proposed approach will furthermore serve as a template for future research on interspecific metabolomics studies and may lead to the identification of target metabolites for breeding for plant resistance. Several early career scientists have been the driving force behind the development of this project, guaranteeing its contribution to capacity building and research networking within Switzerland.
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