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Keywords:

  • Aphid;
  • Aulacorthum solani;
  • Macrosiphum euphorbiae;
  • Myzus persicae;
  • phloem sap;
  • Solanum tuberosum;
  • StSUT1;
  • sucrose

Abstract Aphids (Myzus persicae, Macrosiphum euphorbiae and Aulacorthum solani) are reared on potato plants with phloem sucrose concentrations reduced by up to two-fold by expressing the antisense of the sucrose-H+ symporter (StSUT1) gene. The performance of My. persicae and A. solani on the antisense plants is comparable or superior to that on the wild-type plants, but Ma. euphorbiae increases more slowly on the antisense plants than on the wild-type and fails to feed from the antisense line with the lowest phloem sucrose concentration. Electrical monitoring by electical penetration graphs reveals that Ma. euphorbiae either do not locate the sieve elements or withdraw their stylets prematurely from the sieve elements of these plants. This difference between Ma. euphorbiae and the other aphid species may reflect interspecific variation in response both to the low phloem sucrose in transgenic plants and to pleiotropic effects of the transgene on the wider physiology of the plants. All aphid species perform well on plants with phloem sucrose concentrations that, when administered via chemically-defined diets, support little or no aphid growth. These results illustrate the need for caution in extrapolating conclusions reached for diet-reared aphids to aphids on plants, and demonstrate the importance of plant-based experiments for studies of the nutritional physiology of aphids.