Ecological significance of light quality in optimizing plant defence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Plants balance the allocation of resources between growth and defence to optimize fitness in a competitive environment. Perception of neighbour-detection cues, such as a low ratio of red to far-red (R:FR) radiation, activates a suite of shade-avoidance responses that include stem elongation and upward leaf movement, whilst simultaneously downregulating defence. This downregulation is hypothesized to benefit the plant either by mediating the growth-defence balance in favour of growth in high plant densities or, alternatively, by mediating defence of individual leaves such that those most photosynthetically productive are best protected. To test these hypotheses, we used a 3D functional–structural plant model of Brassica nigra that mechanistically simulates the interactions between plant architecture, herbivory, and the light environment. Our results show that plant-level defence expression is a strong determinant of plant fitness and that leaf-level defence mediation by R:FR can provide a fitness benefit in high densities. However, optimal plant-level defence expression does not decrease monotonically with plant density, indicating that R:FR mediation of defence alone is not enough to optimize defence between densities. Therefore, assessing the ecological significance of R:FR-mediated defence is paramount to better understand the evolution of this physiological linkage and its implications for crop breeding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1065-1077
Number of pages13
JournalPlant Cell and Environment
Volume42
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019

Fingerprint

light quality
Light
plant density
Brassica nigra
leaves
Down-Regulation
Growth
plant architecture
resource allocation
stem elongation
plant breeding
Mustard Plant
Herbivory
Plant Leaves
linkage (genetics)
Resource Allocation
shade
herbivores
Breeding
Cues

Keywords

  • Brassica nigra
  • competition
  • functional–structural plant modelling
  • growth-defence trade-off
  • herbivory
  • plant defence
  • red to far-red ratio
  • shade avoidance

Cite this

@article{d0c93825cb9047f587d811c0909ce2c2,
title = "Ecological significance of light quality in optimizing plant defence",
abstract = "Plants balance the allocation of resources between growth and defence to optimize fitness in a competitive environment. Perception of neighbour-detection cues, such as a low ratio of red to far-red (R:FR) radiation, activates a suite of shade-avoidance responses that include stem elongation and upward leaf movement, whilst simultaneously downregulating defence. This downregulation is hypothesized to benefit the plant either by mediating the growth-defence balance in favour of growth in high plant densities or, alternatively, by mediating defence of individual leaves such that those most photosynthetically productive are best protected. To test these hypotheses, we used a 3D functional–structural plant model of Brassica nigra that mechanistically simulates the interactions between plant architecture, herbivory, and the light environment. Our results show that plant-level defence expression is a strong determinant of plant fitness and that leaf-level defence mediation by R:FR can provide a fitness benefit in high densities. However, optimal plant-level defence expression does not decrease monotonically with plant density, indicating that R:FR mediation of defence alone is not enough to optimize defence between densities. Therefore, assessing the ecological significance of R:FR-mediated defence is paramount to better understand the evolution of this physiological linkage and its implications for crop breeding.",
keywords = "Brassica nigra, competition, functional–structural plant modelling, growth-defence trade-off, herbivory, plant defence, red to far-red ratio, shade avoidance",
author = "Douma, {Jacob C.} and {de Vries}, Jorad and Poelman, {Erik H.} and Marcel Dicke and Anten, {Niels P.R.} and Evers, {Jochem B.}",
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Ecological significance of light quality in optimizing plant defence. / Douma, Jacob C.; de Vries, Jorad; Poelman, Erik H.; Dicke, Marcel; Anten, Niels P.R.; Evers, Jochem B.

In: Plant Cell and Environment, Vol. 42, No. 3, 01.03.2019, p. 1065-1077.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Ecological significance of light quality in optimizing plant defence

AU - Douma, Jacob C.

AU - de Vries, Jorad

AU - Poelman, Erik H.

AU - Dicke, Marcel

AU - Anten, Niels P.R.

AU - Evers, Jochem B.

PY - 2019/3/1

Y1 - 2019/3/1

N2 - Plants balance the allocation of resources between growth and defence to optimize fitness in a competitive environment. Perception of neighbour-detection cues, such as a low ratio of red to far-red (R:FR) radiation, activates a suite of shade-avoidance responses that include stem elongation and upward leaf movement, whilst simultaneously downregulating defence. This downregulation is hypothesized to benefit the plant either by mediating the growth-defence balance in favour of growth in high plant densities or, alternatively, by mediating defence of individual leaves such that those most photosynthetically productive are best protected. To test these hypotheses, we used a 3D functional–structural plant model of Brassica nigra that mechanistically simulates the interactions between plant architecture, herbivory, and the light environment. Our results show that plant-level defence expression is a strong determinant of plant fitness and that leaf-level defence mediation by R:FR can provide a fitness benefit in high densities. However, optimal plant-level defence expression does not decrease monotonically with plant density, indicating that R:FR mediation of defence alone is not enough to optimize defence between densities. Therefore, assessing the ecological significance of R:FR-mediated defence is paramount to better understand the evolution of this physiological linkage and its implications for crop breeding.

AB - Plants balance the allocation of resources between growth and defence to optimize fitness in a competitive environment. Perception of neighbour-detection cues, such as a low ratio of red to far-red (R:FR) radiation, activates a suite of shade-avoidance responses that include stem elongation and upward leaf movement, whilst simultaneously downregulating defence. This downregulation is hypothesized to benefit the plant either by mediating the growth-defence balance in favour of growth in high plant densities or, alternatively, by mediating defence of individual leaves such that those most photosynthetically productive are best protected. To test these hypotheses, we used a 3D functional–structural plant model of Brassica nigra that mechanistically simulates the interactions between plant architecture, herbivory, and the light environment. Our results show that plant-level defence expression is a strong determinant of plant fitness and that leaf-level defence mediation by R:FR can provide a fitness benefit in high densities. However, optimal plant-level defence expression does not decrease monotonically with plant density, indicating that R:FR mediation of defence alone is not enough to optimize defence between densities. Therefore, assessing the ecological significance of R:FR-mediated defence is paramount to better understand the evolution of this physiological linkage and its implications for crop breeding.

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