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Highly localized and persistent induction of Bx1-dependent herbivore resistance factors in maize

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2016
Author Maag Daniel, Köhler Angela, Robert Christelle A.M., Frey Monika, Wolfender Jean-Luc, Turlings Ted C.J., Glauser Gaétan, Erb Matthias,
Project Benzoxazinoid derivatives at the plant-insect interface: An integrated approach to understand a metabolic network
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal The Plant Journal
Page(s) tpj.13308
Title of proceedings The Plant Journal
DOI 10.1111/tpj.13308


The induced production of secondary metabolites in herbivore-attacked plants varies in space and time. However, the consequences of these spatiotemporal patterns for herbivore performance are not well under- stood. This is particularly true for 1,4-benzoxazin-3-ones (BXs), the major induced defensive metabolites of maize. Here we report on the spatiotemporal dynamics of BX induction and its consequences for the leaf feeder Spodoptera littoralis. Defence-related phytohormones and transcript levels of BX biosynthetic genes were upregulated locally at the wound site within 12 h of herbivory. Within another 12 h, the insecticidal BX HDMBOA-Glc started to accumulate in a highly localized manner at the feeding site. Changes in BX metabolism away from the feeding site within the same leaf were much weaker and were undetected in systemic leaves. Following the removal of the caterpillars, local HDMBOA-Glc levels remained elevated for 7 days. Caterpillars that were forced to feed directly on locally induced leaf parts, but not on adjacent leaf parts, suffered from reduced growth. This effect was abolished in the BX-deficient bx1 mutant. We did not find any evidence that BXs regulate defensive phytohormones or their own accumulation. In summary, this study shows that induced herbivore resistance in maize is highly localized and dependent on BXs.