Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 3, 2010
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The European corn borer (ECB, Ostrinia nubilalis) is a major pest of corn. ECB begin by feeding in the whorl tissue and then eventually tunnel into the stalk of the corn where they cause most of the damage. Tunneling can disrupt the transport of water and nutrients in the plant and it provides sites for pathogen infection. If the boring damage is severe enough, it can even cause lodging. The goal of our research is to understand the processes that occur in corn when it is infested with ECB. Typically, when plants are subjected to herbivory, they respond by up-regulating the synthesis of defensive molecules including proteins that can be toxic or have an anti-nutritive effect. When comparing proteins from control and ECB damaged corn stems, a suite of basic, heat-stable proteins were induced in the ECB damaged tissue. One of these proteins, WIP1, shares sequence similarity with Bowman-Birk protease inhibitors. Although it was originally identified as wound inducible, the WIP1 protein was not induced in the stem in response to mechanical damage alone suggesting that ECB specific signals are required for protein synthesis. We are currently in the process of identifying the signals involved in WIP1 induction.