A maize landrace that emits defense volatiles in response to herbivore eggs possesses a strongly inducible terpene synthase gene

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Tamiru, A., Bruce, T. J. A., Richter, A., Woodcock, C. M., Midega, C. A. O., Degenhardt, J., Kelemu, S., Pickett, J. A. and Khan, Z. R. 2017. A maize landrace that emits defense volatiles in response to herbivore eggs possesses a strongly inducible terpene synthase gene. Ecology and Evolution. 7 (8), pp. 2835-2845.

AuthorsTamiru, A., Bruce, T. J. A., Richter, A., Woodcock, C. M., Midega, C. A. O., Degenhardt, J., Kelemu, S., Pickett, J. A. and Khan, Z. R.
Abstract

Maize (Zea mays) emits volatile terpenes in response to insect feeding and egg deposition to defend itself against harmful pests. However, maize cultivars differ strongly in their ability to produce the defense signal. To further understand the agroecological role and underlying genetic mechanisms for variation in terpene emission among maize cultivars, we studied the production of an important signaling component (E)-caryophyllene in a South American maize landrace Braz1006 possessing stemborer Chilo partellus egg inducible defense trait, in comparison with the European maize line Delprim and North American inbred line B73. The (E)-caryophyllene production level and transcript abundance of TPS23, terpene synthase responsible for (E)-caryophyllene formation, were compared between Braz1006, Delprim, and B73 after mimicked herbivory. Braz1006–TPS23 was heterologously expressed in E. coli, and amino acid sequences were determined. Furthermore, electrophysiological and behavioral responses of a key parasitic wasp Cotesia sesamiae to C. partellus egg-induced Braz1006 volatiles were determined using coupled gas chromatography electroantennography and olfactometer bioassay studies. After elicitor treatment, Braz1006 released eightfold higher (E)-caryophyllene than Delprim, whereas no (E)-caryophyllene was detected in B73. The superior (E)-caryophyllene production by Braz1006 was positively correlated with high transcript levels of TPS23 in the landrace compared to Delprim. TPS23 alleles from Braz1006 showed dissimilarities at different sequence positions with Delprim and B73 and encodes an active enzyme. Cotesia sesamiae was attracted to egg-induced volatiles from Braz1006 and synthetic (E)-caryophyllene. The variation in (E)-caryophyllene emission between Braz1006 and Delprim is positively correlated with induced levels of TPS23 transcripts. The enhanced TPS23 activity and corresponding (E)-caryophyllene production by the maize landrace could be attributed to the differences in amino acid sequence with the other maize lines. This study suggested that the same analogous genes could have contrasting expression patterns in different maize genetic backgrounds. The current findings provide valuable insight not only into genetic mechanisms underlying variation in defense signal production but also the prospect of introgressing the novel defense traits into elite maize varieties for effective and ecologically sound protection of crops against damaging insect pests.

Year of Publication2017
JournalEcology and Evolution
Journal citation7 (8), pp. 2835-2845
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1002/ece3.2893
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online21 Mar 2017
Publication process dates
Accepted28 Jan 2017
ISSN20457758
PublisherWiley
Copyright licenseCC BY

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