Spatial association of photosynthesis and chemical defense in Arabidopsis thaliana following herbivory by Trichoplusia ni

Jennie Tang, Ray Zielinski, Mihai Aldea, Evan Delucia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Because they share common precursors and require significant amounts of energy, photosynthesis and defense against herbivores and pathogens may be inversely related. This relationship was examined in Arabidopsis thaliana exposed to herbivory by Trichoplusia ni neonates. The spatial pattern of photosynthesis was compared statistically with that of induction of the defense-related cinnamate-4-hydroxylase (C4H) gene across individual leaves exposed to herbivory in transgenic plants harboring a C4H:GUS gene fusion. In portions of the leaf where C4H:GUS expression was upregulated, photosynthesis was depressed, while non-photochemical quenching was increased, suggesting a trade-off between these two processes. However, photosynthetic damage spread further into surrounding areas than the induction of C4H:GUS expression. Photosynthetic depression was observed up to 1 mm from the edges of holes, whereas C4H:GUS induction typically was limited to about 0.5 mm or less from edges. Other mechanisms may be responsible for the spread of photosynthetic damage beyond where C4H-related defense was induced. Alternatively, C4H induction may reflect a subset of defensive responses more limited in their spatial distribution than the downregulation of photosynthesis. The suppression of photosynthesis in remaining leaf tissue represents a 'hidden cost' of herbivore damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-124
Number of pages10
JournalPhysiologia Plantarum
Volume137
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology

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