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Petunia hybrida PDR2 is involved in herbivore defense by controlling steroidal contents in trichomes.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2016
Author Sasse Joëlle, Schlegel Markus, Borghi Lorenzo, Ullrich Friederike, Lee Miyoung, Liu Guo-Wei, Giner José-Luis, Kayser Oliver, Bigler Laurent, Martinoia Enrico, Kretzschmar Tobias,
Project Investigation of phytohormone transport and the fate of hypodermal passage cells, a cell type specialized to release strigolactones
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Plant, cell & environment
Volume (Issue) 39(12)
Page(s) 2725 - 2739
Title of proceedings Plant, cell & environment
DOI 10.1111/pce.12828


As a first line of defense against insect herbivores many plants store high concentrations of toxic and deterrent secondary metabolites in glandular trichomes. Plant Pleiotropic Drug Resistance (PDR)-type ABC transporters are known secondary metabolite transporters, and several have been implicated in pathogen or herbivore defense. Here, we report on Petunia hybrida PhPDR2 as a major contributor to trichome-related chemical defense. PhPDR2 was found to localize to the plasma membrane and be predominantly expressed in multicellular glandular trichomes of leaves and stems. Down-regulation of PhPDR2 via RNA interference (pdr2) resulted in a markedly higher susceptibility of the transgenic plants to the generalist foliage feeder Spodoptera littoralis. Untargeted screening of pdr2 trichome metabolite contents showed a significant decrease in petuniasterone and petuniolide content, compounds, which had previously been shown to act as potent toxins against various insects. Our findings suggest that PhPDR2 plays a leading role in controlling petuniasterone levels in leaves and trichomes of petunia, thus contributing to herbivory resistance.