Induced carbon reallocation and compensatory growth as root herbivore tolerance mechanisms
CHRISTELLE A. M. ROBERT, RICHARD A. FERRIERI, STEFANIE SCHIRMER, BENJAMIN A. BABST, MICHAEL J. SCHUELLER, RICARDO A. R. MACHADO, CARLA C. M. ARCE, BRUCE E. HIBBARD, JONATHAN GERSHENZON, TED C. J. TURLINGS and MATTHIAS ERB
Article first published online: 22 JUN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/pce.12359
Upon attack by leaf herbivores, many plants reallocate photoassimilates below ground. However, little is known about how plants respond when the roots themselves come under attack. By using radioactive 11CO2, we demonstrate that maize plants that are attacked by the root feeding larvae of the western corn rootworm allocate more carbon to the stems and less to the roots, an effect which is associated with a marked thickening of the stems and increased growth of stem-borne crown roots. These result indicate that induced carbon reallocation may help maize plants to tolerate root herbivore attack.