J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2018, Vol. 60 ›› Issue (5): 412-431.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12633

• Molecular Ecology and Evolution • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Elevated CO2 differentially affects tobacco and rice defense against lepidopteran larvae via the jasmonic acid signaling pathway

Chengkai Lu1,2, Jinfeng Qi1, Christian Hettenhausen1, Yunting Lei1, Jingxiong Zhang1,2, Mou Zhang3, Cuiping Zhang1,2, Juan Song1,2, Jing Li1, Guoyan Cao1, Saif ul Malook1 and Jianqiang Wu1*   

  1. 1Department of Economic Plants and Biotechnology, Yunnan Key Laboratory for Wild Plant Resources, Kunming Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650201, China
    2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3College of Plant Protection, Yunnan Agriculture University, Kunming 650201, China
  • Received:2017-10-09 Accepted:2018-01-05 Online:2018-01-10 Published:2018-05-10
  • About author:*Correspondence: Email: Jianqiang Wu (wujianqiang@mail.kib.ac.cn)


Atmospheric CO2 levels are rapidly increasing due to human activities. However, the effects of elevated CO2 (ECO2) on plant defense against insects and the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here we show that ECO2 increased the photosynthetic rates and the biomass of tobacco and rice plants, and the chewing lepidopteran insects Spodoptera litura and Mythimna separata gained less and more mass on tobacco and rice plants, respectively. Consistently, under ECO2, the levels of jasmonic acid (JA), the main phytohormone controlling plant defense against these lepidopteran insects, as well as the main defense‐related metabolites, were increased and decreased in insect‐damaged tobacco and rice plants. Importantly, bioassays and quantification of defense‐related metabolites in tobacco and rice silenced in JA biosynthesis and perception indicate that ECO2 changes plant resistance mainly by affecting the JA pathway. We further demonstrate that the defensive metabolites, but not total N or protein, are the main factors contributing to the altered defense levels under ECO2. This study illustrates that ECO2 changes the interplay between plants and insects, and we propose that crops should be studied for their resistance to the major pests under ECO2 to predict the impact of ECO2 on future agroecosystems.

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