The molecular bases of plant resistance and defense responses to aphid feeding: current status


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Plant genes participating in the recognition of aphid herbivory in concert with plant genes involved in defense against herbivores mediate plant resistance to aphids. Several such genes involved in plant disease and nematode resistance have been characterized in detail, but their existence has only recently begun to be determined for arthropod resistance. Hundreds of different genes are typically involved and the disruption of plant cell wall tissues during aphid feeding has been shown to induce defense responses in Arabidopsis, Triticum, Sorghum, and Nicotiana species. Mi-1.2, a tomato gene for resistance to the potato aphid, Macrosiphum euphorbiae (Thomas), is a member of the nucleotide-binding site and leucine-rich region Class II family of disease, nematode, and arthropod resistance genes. Recent studies into the differential expression of Pto- and Pti1-like kinase genes in wheat plants resistant to the Russian wheat aphid, Diuraphis noxia (Mordvilko), provide evidence of the involvement of the Pto class of resistance genes in arthropod resistance. An analysis of available data suggests that aphid feeding may trigger multiple signaling pathways in plants. Early signaling includes gene-for-gene recognition and defense signaling in aphid-resistant plants, and recognition of aphid-inflicted cell damage in both resistant and susceptible plants. Furthermore, signaling is mediated by several compounds, including jasmonic acid, salicylic acid, ethylene, abscisic acid, giberellic acid, nitric oxide, and auxin. These signals lead to the development of direct chemical defenses against aphids and general stress-related responses that are well characterized for a number of abiotic and biotic stresses. In spite of major plant taxonomic differences, similarities exist in the types of plant genes expressed in response to feeding by different species of aphids. However, numerous differences in plant signaling and defense responses unique to specific aphid–plant interactions have been identified and warrant further investigation.