Flowers prepare thyselves: leaf and root herbivores induce specific changes in floral phytochemistry with consequences for plant interactions with florivores

Quint Rusman*, Sanne Hooiveld-Knoppers, Mirjam Dijksterhuis, Janneke Bloem, Michael Reichelt, Marcel Dicke, Erik H. Poelman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The phenotypic plasticity of flowering plants in response to herbivore damage to vegetative tissues can affect plant interactions with flower-feeding organisms. Such induced systemic responses are probably regulated by defence-related phytohormones that signal flowers to alter secondary chemistry that affects resistance to florivores. Current knowledge on the effects of damage to vegetative tissues on plant interactions with florivores and the underlying mechanisms is limited. We compared the preference and performance of two florivores on flowering Brassica nigra plants damaged by one of three herbivores feeding from roots or leaves. To investigate the underlying mechanisms, we quantified expression patterns of marker genes for defence-related phytohormonal pathways, and concentrations of phytohormones and glucosinolates in buds and flowers. Florivores displayed contrasting preferences for plants damaged by herbivores feeding on roots and leaves. Chewing florivores performed better on plants damaged by folivores, but worse on plants damaged by the root herbivore. Chewing root and foliar herbivory led to specific induced changes in the phytohormone profile of buds and flowers. This resulted in increased glucosinolate concentrations for leaf-damaged plants, and decreased glucosinolate concentrations for root-damaged plants. The outcome of herbivore–herbivore interactions spanning from vegetative tissues to floral tissues is unique for the inducing root/leaf herbivore and receiving florivore combination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2548-2560
Number of pages13
JournalNew Phytologist
Volume233
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

Keywords

  • Brassica nigra
  • flower-feeding organisms
  • flowers
  • glucosinolates
  • herbivore-induced plant responses
  • phenotypic plasticity
  • phytohormones
  • plant defence

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