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Exploring the ecology of plant eavesdropping on insect pheromonal communication

English title Exploring the ecology of plant eavesdropping on insect pheromonal communication
Applicant De Moraes Consuelo
Number 163145
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Gruppe Angewandte Entomologie Institut für Pflanzenwissenschaften ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Ecology
Start/End 01.10.2015 - 30.09.2019
Approved amount 600'000.00
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Keywords (8)

Plant Volatiles; Chemical Communication; Priming; Insect behavior; Goldenrod; Plant Defense; Plant Olfaction; Gall Fly

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Eine wachsende Zahl von Studien dokumentiert die Reaktion von Pflanzen auf Duftstoffe der Umwelt. Viele Pflanzen verstärken beispielsweise ihre Abwehr gegen Pflanzenfresser, wenn sie volatilen Emissionen benachbarter Pflanzen ausgesetzt sind, die von herbivoren Insekten beschädigt worden sind. Vor Kurzem entdeckten wir, dass Pflanzen der Goldrute (Solidago altissima) in ähnlicher Weise ihre Abwehr verstärkten, wenn sie dem Sexpheromon eines spezialisierten herbivoren Insekts, der gallenbildenden Fliege Eurosta solidaginis, ausgesetzt worden waren. Damit dokumentierten wir zum ersten Mal ein Beispiel einer pflanzlichen Antwort auf einen tierischen Duftstoff. Im aktuelle Projekt beabsichtigen wir unser Verständnis dieser Interaktion und deren Folgen für die Ökologie und Evolution zu verbessern.
Lay summary

Titel des Forschungsprojekts

 Wie belauschen Pflanzen die Duftkommunikation von Insekten

- eine ökologische Untersuchung

Inhalt und Ziele des Forschungsprojekts

 Basierend auf unserer bisherigen Arbeit ist es das wichtigste Ziel des gegenwärtigen Projekts, die Erhöhung der pflanzlichen Abwehr bei Solidago altissima durch olfaktorische Reize vollständiger zu charakterisieren. Wir wollen beispielsweise bestimmte Wirkstoffe im Pheromon der Fliegen identifizieren, die die Antworten in den Pflanzen hervorrufen, und die räumlichen und zeitlichen Muster der Erhöhung der Abwehr in Pflanzen, die dem Pheromon ausgesetzt sind, untersuchen. Wir werden ebenfalls die Wirkung einer Exposition auf die Phytohormone und die Expression von Abwehrgenen untersuchen um die Natur der Pflanzenantworten besser zu verstehen. Wir werden auch die Reaktionen von Pflanzen auf das Pheromon mit den Reaktionen vergleichen, die durch Herbivor-induzierte volatile Emissionen benachbarter Pflanzen hervorgerufen werden um zu bestimmen, ob diese unterschiedlichen Signale ähnliche Effekte auf die Pflanzen haben. Schliesslich werden wir die Variation pflanzlicher Antworten gegenüber E. solidaginis bei verschiedenen Solidago Arten mit unterschiedlichem Mass der Assoziierung mit der Fliege wie auch bei verschiedenen Genotypen von S. altissima mit unterschiedlicher Anfälligkeit für Gallenbildung untersuchen.

 Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext des Forschungsprojekts

 Dieses Projekt wird wichtige Erkenntnisse zum Phänomen der olfaktorischen Wahrnehmung bei Pflanzen liefern, die bislang wenig verstanden wird. Diese Forschungsarbeit hat darüber hinaus wichtige Implikationen für die Landwirtschaft, wozu auch die Aufklärung von Mechanismen gehört, die letztendlich eine gezielte Steigerung der pflanzlichen Abwehr gegen bestimmte Schädlinge ermöglichen.

 

 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 19.10.2015

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Costs of plant defense priming: exposure to volatile cues from a specialist herbivore increases short-term growth but reduces rhizome production in tall goldenrod (Solidago altissima)
Yip Eric C., Tooker John F., Mescher Mark C., De Moraes Consuelo M. (2019), Costs of plant defense priming: exposure to volatile cues from a specialist herbivore increases short-term growth but reduces rhizome production in tall goldenrod (Solidago altissima), in BMC Plant Biology, 19(1), 209-209.
Trade-offs between defenses against herbivores in goldenrod (Solidago altissima)
Yip Eric C., Sowers Rosalie P., Helms Anjel M., Mescher Mark C., De Moraes Consuelo M., Tooker John F. (2019), Trade-offs between defenses against herbivores in goldenrod (Solidago altissima), in Arthropod-Plant Interactions, 13(2), 279-287.
Identification of an insect-produced olfactory cue that primes plant defenses
Helms Anjel M., De Moraes Consuelo M., Tröger Armin, Alborn Hans T., Francke Wittko, Tooker John F., Mescher Mark C. (2017), Identification of an insect-produced olfactory cue that primes plant defenses, in Nature Communications, 8(1), 337-337.
The volatile emission of a specialist herbivore alters patterns of plant defence, growth and flower production in a field population of goldenrod
Yip Eric C., De Moraes Consuelo M., Mescher Mark C., Tooker John F. (2017), The volatile emission of a specialist herbivore alters patterns of plant defence, growth and flower production in a field population of goldenrod, in Functional Ecology, 31(5), 1062-1070.
Editorial overview: Biotic interactions: Communicative interactions of plants: plant biology in the age of information
De Moraes Consuelo M, Mescher Mark C (2016), Editorial overview: Biotic interactions: Communicative interactions of plants: plant biology in the age of information, in Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 32, iv-vi.
Communicative interactions involving plants: information, evolution, and ecology
PierceIan, Mescher Mark (2016), Communicative interactions involving plants: information, evolution, and ecology, in Current opinion in plant biology, 32, 69-76.
Role of plant sensory perception in plant–animal interactions
MescherMark, De MoraesConsuelo (2015), Role of plant sensory perception in plant–animal interactions, in Jornal of Experimental Botany, 66(2), 425-433.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Dr. John Tooker (Penn State University) United States of America (North America)
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Dr. Mark Mescher (ETH Zürich) Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Prof. Alex Widmer, Plant Ecological Genetics (ETH Zürich) Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
British Ecological Society Annual meeting Talk given at a conference Variation in growth and defence traits among plant populations at different elevations: Implications for adaptation to climate change 10.12.2019 Belfast, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Buckley James;
APACE, the 10th conference of asia-pacific association of chemical ecologists Talk given at a conference Transcriptome analysis of priming defense between and within Brassica nigra 09.10.2019 Hangzhou, China Zhang Jichang;
43rd New Phytologist Symposium Talk given at a conference Interaction networks and trait evolution 01.07.2019 Zürich, Switzerland Buckley James;
New avenues for the behavioral manipulation of disease vectors Talk given at a conference Olfactory information in vector attraction and disease diagnosis 22.05.2019 Tours, France De Moraes Consuelo;
Symposium Lecture “Bridging Ecology and Molecular Biology: Organismic Responses to Recurring Stress” Talk given at a conference Plant Interactions 09.04.2019 Freie Universitaet, Berlin, Germany De Moraes Consuelo;
Guest lecture, Institut für Ökologie Individual talk chemical communication in Goldenrod 12.03.2019 German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Germany De Moraes Consuelo;
Plant Volatiles Gordon Research Conference Talk given at a conference Volatiles and Herbivory 04.02.2019 Lucca (Barga), Italy De Moraes Consuelo;
2nd International symposium in memory of Prof. Stefan Vogel (1925-2015) Talk given at a conference Molecular mechanisms underlying flower colour polymorphism and defence in Solanum eleaegnifolium 24.11.2018 Zürich, Switzerland Zhang Jichang;
Lecture at Princeton University Individual talk Olfactory information in ecology and disease diagnosis 25.10.2018 New Jersey, United States of America De Moraes Consuelo;
Conference International Society of chemical Ecology Talk given at a conference Keynote talk 12.08.2018 Budapest, Hungary De Moraes Consuelo;
Gordon conference "Biogenic Hydrocarbons and the Atmosphere” Talk given at a conference Chemical Communication Among Plants, Insects and Pathogens 10.06.2018 Les Diablerets, Switzerland De Moraes Consuelo;
AlumniMedizin Forschungstag Talk given at a conference The Scent of Disease 09.06.2018 Basel, Switzerland De Moraes Consuelo;
Friends of the Countryside General Assembly Talk given at a conference Chemical communication in plant systems 11.05.2018 Konstanz, Germany De Moraes Consuelo;
MedPlant Conference Talk given at a conference Chemical communication in ecological interactions among species 07.02.2017 Bern, Switzerland De Moraes Consuelo;
Institute of Agricultural Sciences Doctoral Symposium 2016 Poster Molecular mechanisms and ecological consequences of extra floral nectar secretion (EFN) in the invasive weed Solanum elaeagnifolium 26.10.2016 Einsiedeln, Switzerland Zhang Jichang;
Guest Lecture, Plant communication and trophic interactions: from plant behavior to sustainable cropping Individual talk Plant Communication 11.05.2016 Ekenäs Manor, Sweden De Moraes Consuelo;
Neureco2015 (Max-Planck, Schloss Ringsberg) Talk given at a conference chemical communication among plants, insects and other organisms. 11.05.2016 Kreuth, Germany De Moraes Consuelo;
SwissPlant Symposium 2016 Talk given at a conference Chemical communication among plants and insects 25.01.2016 Leukerbad, Switzerland De Moraes Consuelo;
Symposium by The Foundation Jean-Marie Delwart “Signal production, reception, transduction, propagation and Plant communication” Talk given at a conference Signal production, reception, transduction, propagation and Plant communication 30.10.2015 Brussels, Belgium De Moraes Consuelo;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions Scientifica 2019 - Exhibition Entomological Collection German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Talks/events/exhibitions Die Lange Nacht der Zürcher Museen 2018 - Exhibition Entomological Collection German-speaking Switzerland 2018
Talks/events/exhibitions Die Lange Nacht der Zürcher Museen 2017 - Exhibition Entomological Collection German-speaking Switzerland 2017
Media relations: print media, online media Obstacle course for Caterpillars ETH life magazine German-speaking Switzerland 2017
Talks/events/exhibitions Scientifica 2017 - Exhibition/Plant Communication?Entomological Collection German-speaking Switzerland 2017
Media relations: print media, online media The Thorny Truth About Spine Evolution Quanta Magazine International 2017
Talks/events/exhibitions Forschung Live - 200th anniversary of SCNAT German-speaking Switzerland 2015

Awards

Title Year
Best Ph.D. presentation Institute of Agriculture Ph.D symposium 2019
PBT Recognition Award in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry and Toxicology Award, Entomological Society of America (ESA) 2019
Nan-Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity in Entomology, Entomological Society of America (ESA) 2018

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
171682 PSC Creative Camps for Youth 01.04.2017 Agora

Abstract

A growing number of studies document plant response to airborne chemical cues, including the priming of anti-herbivore defenses in response to the volatile emissions of neighboring plants damaged by insect feeding. Recently, my collaborators and I demonstrated similar priming of defense responses in tall goldenrod, Solidago altissima, by the putative sex pheromone of a closely associated insect herbivore, the specialist gall-inducing fly Eurosta solidaginis. This finding represents the first, and currently only, example of plant response to an animal-derived olfactory cue. The discovery that some plants can eavesdrop on the pheromonal signals of their insect antagonists has potentially wide-ranging implications for the ecology and evolution of plant-insect interactions, as well as for our emerging understanding of plant olfaction. Furthermore, this discovery has potential applied significance, as many herbivorous pests of agricultural and forest ecosystems communicate via pheromones produced in proximity to the plants on which they later feed, and management tactics involving the release of large quantities of synthetic pheromones to disrupt insect mating are in widespread use.The goal of the research proposed here is to build on our previous findings by further elucidating the role of the E. solidaginis volatile emission as a cue priming plant defense responses as well as its presumed function in conspecific signaling between male and female flies. To achieve this goal, I propose five specific objectives, including (i) to more fully characterize the responses of S. altissima plants to the volatile emissions of E. solidaginis by documenting the effects of individual blend components, the levels of exposure required to elicit such effects, and the time span over which priming effects persist; (ii) to document the effects of exposure to herbivore-induced plant volatiles on defense priming in S. altissima in order to exploit the unique opportunity that this study system provides to compare plant responses to two distinct classes of olfactory cues; (iii) to explore mechanisms underlying effects of the E. solidaginis emission on defense priming and induction in S. altissima via analyses of phytohormone profiles and gene expression patterns; (iv) to explore variation in plant responses to the E. solidaginis emission among several additional Solidago species that exhibit varying degrees of association with the fly, as well as among S. altissima genotypes that differ in their susceptibility to galling; and (v) to investigate the role of the E. solidaginis emission in the reproductive ecology of the fly by determining which blend components function in conspecific signaling (and whether they are the same as those which prime plant defenses), as well as whether and how the male emissions mediate female choice and/or correlate with male quality and reproductive success. Together, these objectives constitute an ambitious yet feasible approach to realizing the unique potential of this study system to enhance or understanding of plant responses to olfactory cues and their implications for the ecology and evolution of interactions among plants and insect herbivores.
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