Different transcript patterns in response to specialist and generalist herbivores in the wild Arabidopsis relative Boechera divaricarpa.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Plants defend themselves against herbivorous insects, utilizing both constitutive and inducible defenses. Induced defenses are controlled by several phytohormone-mediated signaling pathways. Here, we analyze transcriptional changes in the North American Arabidopsis relative Boechera divaricarpa in response to larval herbivory by the crucifer specialist lepidopteran Plutella xylostella (diamondback moth) and by the generalist lepidopteran Trichoplusia ni (cabbage semilooper), and compare them to wounding and exogenous phytohormone application.

Methodology/principal findings

We use a custom macroarray constructed from B. divaricarpa herbivory-regulated cDNAs identified by suppression subtractive hybridization and from known stress-responsive A. thaliana genes for transcript profiling after insect herbivory, wounding and in response to jasmonate, salicylate and ethylene. In addition, we introduce path analysis as a novel approach to analyze transcript profiles. Path analyses reveal that transcriptional responses to the crucifer specialist P. xylostella are primarily determined by direct effects of the ethylene and salicylate pathways, whereas responses to the generalist T. ni are influenced by the ethylene and jasmonate pathways. Wound-induced transcriptional changes are influenced by all three pathways, with jasmonate having the strongest effect.


Our results show that insect herbivory is distinct from simple mechanical plant damage, and that different lepidopteran herbivores elicit different transcriptional responses.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Vogel, H; Kroymann, J; Mitchell-Olds, T

Published Date

  • October 24, 2007

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 2 / 10

Start / End Page

  • e1081 -

PubMed ID

  • 17957263

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC2031921

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1932-6203

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1932-6203

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1371/journal.pone.0001081


  • eng