Phloem-feeding whiteflies can fool their host plants, but not their parasitoids
Article first published online: 5 JUL 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Functional Ecology © 2013 British Ecological Society
Volume 27, Issue 6, pages 1304–1312, December 2013
How to Cite
Zhang, P.-J., Xu, C.-X., Zhang, J.-M., Lu, Y.-B., Wei, J.-N., Liu, Y.-Q., David, A., Boland, W., Turlings, T. C. J. (2013), Phloem-feeding whiteflies can fool their host plants, but not their parasitoids. Functional Ecology, 27: 1304–1312. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12132
- Issue published online: 18 NOV 2013
- Article first published online: 5 JUL 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 9 MAY 2013
- Manuscript Received: 13 FEB 2013
- National Basic Research Program of China. Grant Numbers: 2012CB114105, 2013CB127604
- Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China. Grant Number: R3100692
- Qianjiang Excellence Project of Zhejiang Province. Grant Number: 2011R10013
- National Centre of Competence in Research
- Bemisia tabaci ;
- Encarsia formosa ;
- indirect plant defence;
- phloem-feeding herbivore;
- plant–herbivore interactions;
- salicylic acid
- Herbivore attack induces plants to mobilize chemical defences, including the release of volatiles that attract natural enemies of the herbivore. This commonly involves the jasmonic acid (JA) pathway. However, phloem-feeding whiteflies specifically trigger salicylic acid (SA)-signalling, thereby suppressing JA-based defences and enhancing host plant suitability.
- Here, we show with Arabidopsis thaliana plants that the whitefly parasitoid Encarsia formosa outsmarts this apparent host plant manipulation by exploiting the SA-triggered emission of β-myrcene. Assays with various Arabidopsis mutants and phytohormone and gene-expression analyses reveal that the whiteflies induce the accumulation of endogenous SA, thereby enhancing the expression of SA-regulated genes, one of which encodes ocimene/myrcene synthase, which resulted in the recruitment of parasitoids under greenhouse conditions. Performance assays confirmed that whiteflies directly benefit from suppressing JA-based defences.
- Taken together, we conclude that by activating SA-signalling whitefly feeding suppresses direct, JA-based defences, but that parasitoids can adapt to this by exploiting specific, SA-induced volatile emissions for host location.
- Our work further confirms that herbivory contributes to selective pressure governing the evolution of inducible volatile signals as indirect plant defences.