Background: In nature, plants are frequently exposed to simultaneous biotic stresses that activate distinct and often antagonistic defense signaling pathways. How plants integrate this information and whether they prioritize one stress over the other is not well understood. Results: We investigated the transcriptome signature of the wild annual crucifer, Brassica nigra, in response to eggs and caterpillars of Pieris brassicae butterflies, Brevicoryne brassicae aphids and the bacterial phytopathogen Xanthomonas campestris pv. raphani (Xcr). Pretreatment with egg extract, aphids, or Xcr had a weak impact on the subsequent transcriptome profile of plants challenged with caterpillars, suggesting that the second stress dominates the transcriptional response. Nevertheless, P. brassicae larval performance was strongly affected by egg extract or Xcr pretreatment and depended on the site where the initial stress was applied. Although egg extract and Xcr pretreatments inhibited insect-induced defense gene expression, suggesting salicylic acid (SA)/jasmonic acid (JA) pathway cross talk, this was not strictly correlated with larval performance. Conclusion: These results emphasize the need to better integrate plant responses at different levels of biological organization and to consider localized effects in order to predict the consequence of multiple stresses on plant resistance.
- Brassica nigra
- Brevicoryne brassicae
- Combined stresses
- Pieris brassicae
- Xanthomonas campestris pv. raphani (Xcr)