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PLoS One. 2013 Oct 14;8(10):e77465. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077465. eCollection 2013.

Early transcriptome analyses of Z-3-Hexenol-treated zea mays revealed distinct transcriptional networks and anti-herbivore defense potential of green leaf volatiles.

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Department of Biology, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, United States of America.


Green leaf volatiles (GLV), which are rapidly emitted by plants in response to insect herbivore damage, are now established as volatile defense signals. Receiving plants utilize these molecules to prime their defenses and respond faster and stronger when actually attacked. To further characterize the biological activity of these compounds we performed a microarray analysis of global gene expression. The focus of this project was to identify early transcriptional events elicited by Z-3-hexenol (Z-3-HOL) as our model GLV in maize (Zea mays) seedlings. The microarray results confirmed previous studies on Z-3-HOL -induced gene expression but also provided novel information about the complexity of Z-3-HOL -induced transcriptional networks. Besides identifying a distinct set of genes involved in direct and indirect defenses we also found significant expression of genes involved in transcriptional regulation, Ca(2+)-and lipid-related signaling, and cell wall reinforcement. By comparing these results with those obtained by treatment of maize seedlings with insect elicitors we found a high degree of correlation between the two expression profiles at this early time point, in particular for those genes related to defense. We further analyzed defense gene expression induced by other volatile defense signals and found Z-3-HOL to be significantly more active than methyl jasmonate, methyl salicylate, and ethylene. The data presented herein provides important information on early genetic networks that are activated by Z-3-HOL and demonstrates the effectiveness of this compound in the regulation of typical plant defenses against insect herbivores in maize.

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