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Pith-specific lignification in Nicotiana attenuata as a defense against a stem-boring herbivore

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Joo, Youngsung; Kim, Hoon; Kang, Moonyoung; Lee, Gisuk; Choung, Sungjun; Kaur, Harleen; Oh, Shinyoung; Choi, Jun Weon; Ralph, John; Baldwin, Ian T.; Kim, Sang-Gyu

Issue Date
Blackwell Publishing Inc.
New Phytologist, Vol.232 No.1, pp.332-344
Plants have developed tissue-specific defense strategies in response to various herbivores with different feeding habits. Although defense responses to leaf-chewing insects have been well studied, little is known about stem-specific responses, particularly in the pith, to stem-boring herbivores. To understand the stem-specific defense, we first conducted a comparative transcriptomic analysis of the wild tobacco Nicotiana attenuata before and after attack by the leaf-chewing herbivore Manduca sexta and the stem borer Trichobaris mucorea. When the stem-boring herbivore attacked, lignin-associated genes were upregulated specifically in the inner parenchymal cells of the stem, the pith; lignin also accumulated highly in the attacked pith. Silencing the lignin biosynthetic gene cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase enhanced the performance of the stem-boring herbivore but had no effect on the growth of the leaf-chewing herbivore. Two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance results revealed that lignified pith contains feruloyltyramine as an unusual lignin component in the cell wall, as a response against stem-boring herbivore attack. Pith-specific lignification induced by the stem-boring herbivore was modulated by both jasmonate and ethylene signaling. These results suggest that lignin provides a stem-specific inducible barrier, protecting plants against stem-boring insects.
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  • College of Natural Sciences
  • School of Biological Sciences
Research Area Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, Plant Sciences, 생태학, 식물과학, 진화생물학


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