Herbivore intoxication as a potential primary function of an inducible volatile plant signal

Veyrat, Nathalie; Robert, Christelle A. M.; Turlings, Ted Christiaan Johannes; Erb, Matthias (2016). Herbivore intoxication as a potential primary function of an inducible volatile plant signal. Journal of Ecology, 104(2), pp. 591-600. Wiley 10.1111/1365-2745.12526

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Plants release herbivore-induced volatiles (HIPVs), which can be used as cues by plants, herbivores and natural enemies. Theory predicts that HIPVs may initially have evolved because of their direct benefits for the emitter and were subsequently adopted as infochemicals. Here, we investigated the potential direct benefits of indole, a major HIPV constituent of many plant species and a key defence priming signal in maize. We used indole-deficient maize mutants and synthetic indole at physiologically relevant doses to document the impact of the volatile on the generalist herbivore Spodoptera littoralis. Our experiments demonstrate that indole directly decreases food consumption, plant damage and survival of S. littoralis caterpillars. Surprisingly, exposure to volatile indole increased caterpillar growth. Furthermore, we show that S. littoralis caterpillars and adults consistently avoid indole-producing plants in olfactometer experiments, feeding assays and oviposition trials. Synthesis. Together, these results provide a potential evolutionary trajectory by which the release of a HIPV as a direct defence precedes its use as a cue by herbivores and an alert signal by plants. Furthermore, our experiments show that the effects of a plant secondary metabolite on weight gain and food consumption can diverge in a counterintuitive manner, which implies that larval growth can be a poor proxy for herbivore fitness and plant resistance.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

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

UniBE Contributor:

Robert, Christelle Aurélie Maud and Erb, Matthias

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

0022-0477

Publisher:

Wiley

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

11 Mar 2016 15:05

Last Modified:

28 Feb 2018 10:40

Publisher DOI:

10.1111/1365-2745.12526

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.77883

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/77883

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