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New Phytol. 2006;172(4):617-35.

Molecular analysis of poplar defense against herbivory: comparison of wound- and insect elicitor-induced gene expression.

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Centre for Forest Biology and Department of Biology, University of Victoria, Stn CSC, PO Box 3020, Victoria, BC, V8W 3 N5, Canada.


In order to characterize defense responses of hybrid poplar (Populus trichocarpax P. deltoides), we profiled leaf transcript patterns elicited by wounding and by regurgitant from forest tent caterpillar (FTC; Malacosoma disstria), a Lepidopteran defoliator of poplars. Macroarrays were used to compare transcript profiles. Both FTC-regurgitant (FTC-R) and mechanical wounding with pliers elicited expression of a variety of genes, and for these genes our analysis indicated that these treatments induced qualitatively similar responses. Similarly, a comparison of responses of directly treated and systemically induced leaves indicated extensive overlap in the sets of induced genes. FTC-R was found to contain the insect-derived elicitor volicitin. The simulated herbivory treatments resulted in the induction of genes involved in poplar defense and secondary metabolism. We also identified wound-responsive genes with roles in primary metabolism, including a putative invertase, lipase, and acyl-activating enzyme; some of these genes may have roles in defense signaling. In addition, we found three unknown genes containing a ZIM motif which may represent novel transcription factors.

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