Indirect defence of plants against herbivores: using Arabidopsis thaliana as a model plant

R.M.P. van Poecke, M. Dicke

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120 Citations (Scopus)


In their defence against pathogens, herbivorous insects, and mites, plants employ many induced responses. One of these responses is the induced emission of volatiles upon herbivory. These volatiles can guide predators or parasitoids to their herbivorous prey, and thus benefit both plant and carnivore. This use of carnivores by plants is termed indirect defence and has been reported for many plant species, including elm, pine, maize, Lima bean, cotton, cucumber, tobacco, tomato, cabbage, and Arabidopsis thaliana. Herbivory activates an intricate signalling web and finally results in defence responses such as increased production of volatiles. Although several components of this signalling web are known (for example the plant hormones jasmonic acid, salicylic acid, and ethylene), our understanding of how these components interact and how other components are involved is still limited. Here we review the knowledge on elicitation and signal transduction of herbivory-induced volatile production. Additionally, we discuss how use of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana can enhance our understanding of signal transduction in indirect defence and how cross-talk and trade-offs with signal transduction in direct defence against herbivores and pathogens influences plant responses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-401
JournalPlant Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • parasitoids cotesia-glomerata
  • predator-prey interactions
  • natural enemy association
  • allene oxide synthase
  • egyptian cotton worm
  • lima-bean leaves
  • jasmonic-acid
  • tetranychus-urticae
  • induced volatiles
  • salicylic-acid

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