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J Chem Ecol. 2013 May;39(5):612-9. doi: 10.1007/s10886-013-0283-2. Epub 2013 Apr 19.

Feeding by whiteflies suppresses downstream jasmonic acid signaling by eliciting salicylic acid signaling.

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State Key Laboratory Breeding Base for Zhejiang Sustainable Pest and Disease Control, Institute of Plant Protection and Microbiology, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hangzhou, 310021, China.


Phloem-feeding whiteflies in the species complex Bemisia tabaci cause extensive crop damage worldwide. One of the reasons for their "success" is their ability to suppress the effectual jasmonic acid (JA) defenses of the host plant. However, little is understood about the mechanisms underlying whitefly suppression of JA-regulated defenses. Here, we showed that the expression of salicylic acid (SA)-responsive genes (EDS1 and PR1) in Arabidopsis thaliana was significantly enhanced during feeding by whitefly nymphs. Whereas upstream JA-responsive genes (LOX2 and OPR3) also were induced, the downstream JA-responsive gene (VSP1) was repressed, i.e., whiteflies only suppressed downstream JA signaling. Gene-expression analyses with various Arabidopsis mutants, including NahG, npr-1, ein2-1, and dde2-2, revealed that SA signaling plays a key role in the suppression of downstream JA defenses by whitefly feeding. Assays confirmed that SA activation enhanced whitefly performance by suppressing downstream JA defenses.

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