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Bioessays. 2007 Sep;29(9):871-83.

Biochemistry and molecular biology of Arabidopsis-aphid interactions.

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  • 1Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


To ensure their survival in natural habitats, plants must recognize and respond to a wide variety of insect herbivores. Aphids and other Hemiptera pose a particular challenge, because they cause relatively little direct tissue damage when inserting their slender stylets intercellularly to feed from the phloem sieve elements. Plant responses to this unusual feeding strategy almost certainly include recognition of aphid salivary components and the induction of phloem-specific defenses. Due to the excellent genetic and genomic resources that are available for Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis), this plant was chosen as a model system to study the metabolic and transcriptional responses to infestation by two aphids, Myzus persicae (green peach aphid, a broad generalist) and Brevicoryne brassicae (cabbage aphid, a crucifer-feeding specialist). Future research on Arabidopsis-aphid interactions will lead to the identification of aphid-specific elicitors, components of the defense-signaling pathway, and additional metabolic responses that are induced by aphid infestation.

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