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New Phytol. 2005 Aug;167(2):597-606.

Direct and indirect defences induced by piercing-sucking and chewing herbivores in Medicago truncatula.

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Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Okologie, Abteilung Bioorganische Chemie, Hans-Knöll-Str. 8, D-07745 Jena, Germany.


Direct and indirect defences against feeding induced by chewing (Spodoptera littoralis) and piercing-sucking (Tetranychus urticae) herbivores, as well as components of signal transduction, were investigated in the model legume Medicago truncatula. Emitted volatiles, representing a mechanism of indirect defence, were measured and identified by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC-MS). As elements of direct defence, the accumulation of phenolic compounds and of reactive oxygen species (ROS) was assessed using microscopic techniques. Jasmonic acid (JA) and salicylic acid (SA) concentrations were assessed as putative components of signal transduction. Volatile profiles revealed a sizeable number of different substances emitted, particularly sesquiterpenoids. The qualitative composition clearly differed depending on the type of herbivory. The same held true for JA and SA concentrations. Also, deposition of phenolic compounds and the production of ROS around the wounding sites could be detected. Conspicuous differences were found in indirect defence and signalling for different types of herbivory. In contrast, no divergence in direct defences was observed; furthermore, the traits investigated exhibited striking similarities to reactions known to occur upon pathogen attack.

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