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Plant Signal Behav. 2012 Jun;7(6):605-7. doi: 10.4161/psb.20066. Epub 2012 May 14.

Tomato responds to green peach aphid infestation with the activation of trehalose metabolism and starch accumulation.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, University of North Texas, Denton, TX, USA.


The disaccharide trehalose and trehalose-6-phosphate that are present in trace amounts are suggested to have a signaling function in plants. Recently, it was demonstrated that trehalose metabolism contributes to Arabidopsis thaliana defense against the green peach aphid (GPA; Myzus persicae Sülzer), an important insect pest of a large variety of plants. TPS11 (TREHALOSE PHOSPHATE SYNTHASE11)-dependent trehalose metabolism was shown to curtail GPA infestation by promoting starch accumulation and expression of the PAD4 (PHYTOALEXIN-DEFICIENT4) gene, which has important roles in regulating antibiosis and antixenosis against GPA. Here we show that trehalose metabolism is similarly activated in leaves of GPA-infested tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) plants and likely contributes to tomato defense against GPA. GPA-infested leaves of tomato accumulated trehalose, which was accompanied by the transient upregulation of SlTPS11, a homolog of the Arabidopsis TPS11. GPA-infestation was also accompanied by starch accumulation and the upregulation of SlPAD4, the tomato homolog of Arabidopsis PAD4. Furthermore, trehalose application induced SlPAD4 expression and starch accumulation, and curtailed GPA infestation, suggesting that like in Arabidopsis trehalose contributes to tomato defense against GPA.

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