The role of metabolism in direct and indirect defense towards two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) in Capsicum spp

Yuanyuan Zhang

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Plants evolved multiple strategies to defend themselves against herbivores. Compared with constitutive defenses, such as trichomes and wax layers, inducible defenses provide a more cost-efficient and specific protection against different herbivores while both of them can protect plants directly and indirectly. In direct defense, the number of herbivores is reduced by for example toxic metabolites and proteins while in indirect defense, the help of natural enemies of the herbivores is solicited, for example by releasing volatile cues. Secondary metabolites mediate both direct and indirect defense. Phytohormones regulate the defense responses and fine-tune it, for example according to the species that is attacking the plant. In my thesis, I studied the molecular mechanisms of plant defense in Capsicum. and dynamic changes in metabolite-based direct and indirect defense against spider mites, analyzed the transcriptomic and metabolic changes upon JA and spider mite treatment and carried out a genome-wide characterization of the Capsicum terpene synthase family.   I explored the natural variation in direct and indirect defense of 22 Capsicum genotype. In addition, the corresponding spider-mite induced endogenous metabolome and JA-induced volatile metabolome were analyzed. Defense related metabolites were identified by correlation analysis, stepwise regression and PLS-DA. I used two genotypes that vary in their defense level to study the dynamic changes in the endogenous and volatile metabolome, and defense related phytohormones during the progression of spider mite infestation. Comparative transcriptome and metabolome analysis were integrated to explain and compare the molecular mechanism underlying JA-induced and spider-mite induced responses in the resistant and susceptible genotypes also used in Chapter 3. CaTPS genes were characterized in genomic, transcriptional and biochemical aspect.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Bouwmeester, Harro J., Promotor
  • Kappers, Iris, Co-promotor
Award date13 Sep 2018
Place of PublicationWageningen
Print ISBNs9789463433402
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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