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Plant Physiol. 2003 Apr;131(4):1877-93.

Molecular interactions between the specialist herbivore Manduca sexta (lepidoptera, sphingidae) and its natural host Nicotiana attenuata: V. microarray analysis and further characterization of large-scale changes in herbivore-induced mRNAs.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Winzerlaer Strasse 10, D-07745 Jena, Germany.


We extend our analysis of the transcriptional reorganization that occurs when the native tobacco, Nicotiana attenuata, is attacked by Manduca sexta larvae by cloning 115 transcripts by mRNA differential display reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and subtractive hybridization using magnetic beads (SHMB) from the M. sexta-responsive transcriptome. These transcripts were spotted as cDNA with eight others, previously confirmed to be differentially regulated by northern analysis on glass slide microarrays, and hybridized with Cy3- and Cy5-labeled probes derived from plants after 2, 6, 12, and 24 h of continuous attack. Microarray analysis proved to be a powerful means of verifying differential expression; 73 of the cloned genes (63%) were differentially regulated (in equal proportions from differential display reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and SHMB procedures), and of these, 24 (32%) had similarity to known genes or putative proteins (more from SHMB). The analysis provided insights into the signaling and transcriptional basis of direct and indirect defenses used against herbivores, suggesting simultaneous activation of salicylic acid-, ethylene-, cytokinin-, WRKY-, MYB-, and oxylipin-signaling pathways and implicating terpenoid-, pathogen-, and cell wall-related transcripts in defense responses. These defense responses require resources that could be made available by decreases in four photosynthetic-related transcripts, increases in transcripts associated with protein and nucleotide turnover, and increases in transcripts associated with carbohydrate metabolism. This putative up-regulation of defense-associated and down-regulation of growth-associated transcripts occur against a backdrop of altered transcripts for RNA-binding proteins, putative ATP/ADP translocators, chaperonins, histones, and water channel proteins, responses consistent with a major metabolic reconfiguration that underscores the complexity of response to herbivore attack.

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