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Plant J. 2008 Jun;54(6):1015-26. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2008.03476.x. Epub 2008 Mar 12.

Identification of indole glucosinolate breakdown products with antifeedant effects on Myzus persicae (green peach aphid).

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


The cleavage of glucosinolates by myrosinase to produce toxic breakdown products is a characteristic insect defense of cruciferous plants. Although green peach aphids (Myzus persicae) are able to avoid most contact with myrosinase when feeding from the phloem of Arabidopsis thaliana, indole glucosinolates are nevertheless degraded during passage through the insects. A defensive role for indole glucosinolates is suggested by the observation that atr1D mutant plants, which overproduce indole glucosinolates, are more resistant to M. persicae, whereas cyp79B2 cyp79B3 double mutants, which lack indole glucosinolates, succumb to M. persicae more rapidly. Indole glucosinolate breakdown products, including conjugates formed with ascorbate, glutathione and amino acids, are elevated in the honeydew of M. persicae feeding from atr1D mutant plants, but are absent when the aphids are feeding on cyp79B2 cyp79B3 double mutants. M. persicae feeding from wild-type plants and myrosinase-deficient tgg1 tgg2 double mutants excrete a similar profile of indole glucosinolate-derived metabolites, indicating that the breakdown is independent of these foliar myrosinases. Artificial diet experiments show that the reaction of indole-3-carbinol, a breakdown product of indol-3-ylmethylglucosinolate, with ascorbate, glutathione and cysteine produces diindolylmethylcysteines and other conjugates that have antifeedant effects on M. persicae. Therefore, the post-ingestive breakdown of indole glucosinolates provides a defense against herbivores such as aphids that can avoid glucosinolate activation by plant myrosinases.

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