J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2015, Vol. 57 ›› Issue (2): 198-212.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12227

• Plant-environmental Interactions • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Cytokinin levels and signaling respond to wounding and the perception of herbivore elicitors in Nicotiana attenuata

Martin Schäfer1*, Ivan D. Meza-Canales1, Aura Navarro-Quezada1, Christoph Brütting1, Radomira Vanková2, Ian T. Baldwin1 and Stefan Meldau1,3*   

  1. 1Department of Molecular Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany
    2Laboratory of Hormonal Regulations in Plants, Institute of Experimental Botany AS CR, Czech Republic
    3German Centre for integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), Leipzig, Germany


Nearly half a century ago insect herbivores were found to induce the formation of green islands by manipulating cytokinin (CK) levels. However, the response of the CK pathway to attack by chewing insect herbivores remains unclear. Here, we characterize the CK pathway of Nicotiana attenuata (Torr. ex S. Wats.) and its response to wounding and perception of herbivore-associated molecular patterns (HAMPs). We identified 44 genes involved in CK biosynthesis, inactivation, degradation, and signaling. Leaf wounding rapidly induced transcriptional changes in multiple genes throughout the pathway, as well as in the levels of CKs, including isopentenyladenosine and cis-zeatin riboside; perception of HAMPs present in the oral secretions (OS) of the specialist herbivore Manduca sexta amplified these responses. The jasmonate pathway, which triggers many herbivore-induced processes, was not required for these HAMP-triggered changes, but rather suppressed the CK responses. Interestingly CK pathway changes were observed also in systemic leaves in response to wounding and OS application indicating a role of CKs in mediating long distance systemic processes in response to herbivory. Since wounding and grasshopper OS elicited similar accumulations of CKs in Arabidopsis thaliana L., we propose that CKs are integral components of wounding and HAMP-triggered responses in many plant species.


Schäfer M, Meza‐Canales ID, Navarro‐Quezada A, Brütting C, Vanková R, Baldwin IT, Meldau S (2015) Cytokinin levels and signaling respond to wounding and the perception of herbivore elicitors in Nicotiana attenuata. J Integr Plant Biol 57: 198–212. doi: 10.1111/jipb.12227

Key words: Arabidopsis thaliana, cytokinin, herbivore-associated molecular patterns, herbivory, insect, jasmonic acid, Manduca sexta, Nicotiana attenuata

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