Induction of defense in cereals by 4-fluorophenoxyacetic acid suppresses insect pest populations and increases crop yields in the field

Wang, Wanwan; Zhou, Pengyong; Mo, Xiaochang; Hu, Lingfei; Jin, Nuo; Chen, Xia; Yu, Zhuoxian; Meng, Jinpeng; Erb, Matthias; Shang, Zhicai; Gatehouse, Angharad M. R.; Wu, Jun; Lou, Yonggen (2020). Induction of defense in cereals by 4-fluorophenoxyacetic acid suppresses insect pest populations and increases crop yields in the field. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America - PNAS, 117(22), pp. 12017-12028. 2101 CONSTITUTION AVE NW, WASHINGTON, DC 20418 USA: National Academy of Sciences NAS 10.1073/pnas.2003742117

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Synthetic chemical elicitors, so called plant strengtheners, can protect plants from pests and pathogens. Most plant strengtheners act by modifying defense signaling pathways, and little is known about other mechanisms by which they may increase plant resistance. Moreover, whether plant strengtheners that enhance insect resistance actually enhance crop yields is often unclear. Here, we uncover how a mechanism by which 4-fluorophenoxyacetic acid (4-FPA) protects cereals from piercing-sucking insects and thereby increases rice yield in the field. Four-FPA does not stimulate hormonal signaling, but modulates the production of peroxidases, H2O2, and flavonoids and directly triggers the formation of flavonoid polymers. The increased deposition of phenolic polymers in rice parenchyma cells of 4-FPA-treated plants is associated with a decreased capacity of the white-backed planthopper (WBPH) Sogatella furcifera to reach the plant phloem. We demonstrate that application of 4-PFA in the field enhances rice yield by reducing the abundance of, and damage caused by, insect pests. We demonstrate that 4-FPA also increases the resistance of other major cereals such as wheat and barley to piercing-sucking insect pests. This study unravels a mode of action by which plant strengtheners can suppress herbivores and increase crop yield. We postulate that this represents a conserved defense mechanism of plants against piercing-sucking insect pests, at least in cereals.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Biotic Interactions
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Hu, Lingfei and Erb, Matthias

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

0027-8424

Publisher:

National Academy of Sciences NAS

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

25 Jun 2020 11:14

Last Modified:

25 Jun 2020 11:14

Publisher DOI:

10.1073/pnas.2003742117

Uncontrolled Keywords:

4-fluorophenoxyacetic acid; phenolic polymer; rice planthopper; chemical elicitor; induced plant defense

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.144845

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/144845

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