Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Microbes help beetles defeat plant defenses

Date:
September 9, 2013
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
Some symbiotic bacteria living inside Colorado potato beetles can trick plants into reacting to a microbial attack rather than that of a chewing herbivore, according to a researchers who found that the beetles with bacteria were healthier and grew better.

This is a Colorado potato beetle larva.
Credit: Gary Felton, Penn State

Some symbiotic bacteria living inside Colorado potato beetles can trick plants into reacting to a microbial attack rather than that of a chewing herbivore, according to a team of Penn State researchers who found that the beetles with bacteria were healthier and grew better.

Related Articles


"For the last couple of decades, my lab has focused on induced defenses in plants," said Gary W. Felton, professor and head of entomology. "We had some clues that oral secretions of beetles suppressed defenses, but no one had followed up on that research."

Seung Ho Chung, graduate student in entomology working with Felton, decided to investigate how plants identified chewers and how herbivores subverted the plants defenses.

"I thought we could identify what was turning the anti-herbivore reaction off," said Felton. "But it was a lot more difficult because we had not considered microbes."

According to Felton, the beetles do not have salivary glands and so they regurgitate oral secretions onto the leaves to begin digestion. These secretions contain gut bacteria.

Plant defenses against chewing insects follow a jasmonite-mediated pathway that induces protease inhibitors and polyphenol oxidase, which suppress digestion and growth. Plant defenses against pathogens follow a salicylic acid mediated pathway. When the antimicrobial response turns on, it interferes with the response to chewing, allowing the beetles to develop more normally.

Chung and Felton used tomato plants to identify exactly what was turning off the response to chewing. They note, however, that the Colorado potato beetle also attacks eggplant and potato plants. They report the results of their work in the current online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers allowed beetle larva to feast on antibiotic-treated leaves and natural leaves and found that on the antibiotic-treated leaves, the beetles suffered from the plant's anti-herbivore defense, but on the natural leaves the larva gained more weight and thrived.

Chung and Felton then investigated expression of genes in the anti-herbivore pathway and the production of enzymes. They found that the presence of bacteria decreases the anti-herbivore response.

The researchers also isolated and grew the bacteria from the Colorado potato beetle guts. They found 22 different types of bacteria, but only three types suppressed the anti-herbivore response. During a variety of other experiments, they found that in all cases presence of the bacteria that could suppress the anti-herbivore response led to healthier beetles.

The researchers are now beginning to see if these bacteria are present in Colorado potato beetles all over the U.S. and also in Europe.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Seung Ho Chung, Cristina Rosa, Erin D. Scully, Michelle Peiffer, John F. Tooker, Kelli Hoover, Dawn S. Luthe, and Gary W. Felton. Herbivore exploits orally secreted bacteria to suppress plant defenses. PNAS, September 9, 2013 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1308867110

Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Microbes help beetles defeat plant defenses." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130909172221.htm>.
Penn State. (2013, September 9). Microbes help beetles defeat plant defenses. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130909172221.htm
Penn State. "Microbes help beetles defeat plant defenses." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130909172221.htm (accessed January 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How To: Mixed Green Salad Topped With Camembert Cheese

How To: Mixed Green Salad Topped With Camembert Cheese

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) Learn how to make a mixed green salad topped with a pan-seared camembert cheese in only a minute! Music: Courtesy of Audio Network. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) It looks like this 2-month-old Husky puppy and the family ferret are going to be the best of friends. Look at how much fun they&apos;re having together! Credit to &apos;Vira&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Buzz60 (Jan. 26, 2015) Swiss scientists build a new drone that can both fly and walk, modeling it after the movements of common vampire bats. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins