Submitted to: Journal of Plant Growth Regulation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 21, 2009
Publication Date: January 15, 2010
Citation: Dervinis, C., Frost, C., Lawrence, S.D., Novak, N.G., Davis, J. 2010. Cytokinin primes plant responses to wounding and reduces insect performance. Journal of Plant Growth Regulation. 29(3):289-296.
Interpretive Summary: This work addresses two problems, one being that insect pests result in enormous losses in crop yield in American agriculture and that insecticides designed to deter insect pests can be detrimental to the environment. This work characterizes the effect of a plant compound, cytokinin, and its role in the plant’s defense against an insect pest. This work benefits scientists, by suggesting that cytokinin manipulation could improve the natural defense response of plants to insect pests, which will improve crop yield and lower the use of insecticides.
We report a potential role of endogenous cytokinin supply in priming plant defense against herbivory. Cytokinin priming significantly reduced weight gain by insect larvae. Unlike previously described priming by volatile compounds, priming by cytokinin did not overcome vascular restrictions on systemic wound signaling. However, similar to priming by volatile compounds, cytokinin priming occurred upstream of accumulation of jasmonic acid and its precursor linolenic acid in mechanically wounded source leaves. Cytokinin priming significantly altered wound-induced accumulation of transcripts encoding homologs of allene oxide synthase, trypsin inhibitor and chitinase. Cytokinin priming may reflect coordination between aboveground inducible defense against herbivory and belowground processes such as nutrient availability. These findings should encourage investigations of how genetic alterations in cytokinin signaling and response pathways may affect plant-herbivore interactions.