Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Salivating over wheat plants may net Hessian flies big meal or death

15.06.2011
The interaction between a Hessian fly's saliva and the wheat plant it is attacking may be the key to whether the pest eats like a king or dies like a starving pauper, according to a study done at Purdue University.

"The insect induces or suppresses susceptibility in the plant," said Christie Williams, a research scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service and a Purdue associate professor of entomology. "It's not that the fly larva is making holes and retrieving nutrients as once thought. The larva is doing something chemically to change the plant."


A Hessian fly-infested susceptible wheat seedling before (top) and after (bottom) staining with red dye. The larvae induce the host plant cells to increase in permeability, as visualized by their ability to absorb the red stain. This increased permeability allows plant nutrients to leak to the surface where they are consumed by the larvae. Credit: Photo by Jill Nemacheck

Williams and a team of entomologists found that Hessian flies, which cause millions of dollars in damage to U.S. wheat crops each year, trigger one of two responses in plants: the plants either put up strong defenses to essentially starve the fly or succumb, releasing essential nutrients to the fly. Their findings were published in the early online release of the Journal of Experimental Botany.

"At about the first day of attack, when susceptible plants become permeable, they start to secrete nutrients that the larvae consume," said Jill Nemacheck, a USDA/ARS biological sciences technician at Purdue and paper co-author. "In resistant plants, that permeability goes away because the plant does its job quickly and releases proteins that make the larva not want to feed."

The researchers applied a red dye to the plant's surface and observed how far it spread throughout plant tissues. In plants that mounted defenses, the dye spread minimally and tissue repaired itself within a few days. In plants that were susceptible, the dye spread throughout the plant before it died.

"It's a simple way to visually observe how the tissue is affected," said Kurt Saltzmann, a Purdue research assistant professor of molecular entomology and co-author of the paper. "It's one of those things you can see immediately."

Researchers saw signs that resistant plants were producing more lipase, a protein that degrades lipids, or fats, in the cell surface. It is believed that lipase acts as a defense by providing the small surface holes that deliver toxic proteins to deter larvae from feeding.

In an unexpected twist, however, the researchers found cases in which avirulent fly larvae, which should trigger defense mechanisms from the plants that lead to the larvae deaths, could survive in some cases. A virulent larva that attacks a resistant plant that has already initiated defense mechanisms can reverse those defenses. In that case, both the virulent and avirulent flies would be able to feed on the plant.

"By having this rescue happen, it keeps some avirulent flies in the population," Williams said. "This may be an advantage to the plant to some degree. It probably extends the durability of resistance."

The next step in the research is to determine which genes are responsible for turning on wheat defenses and how those could be activated to respond to virulent flies.

"We need to better understand the mechanisms that occur when a virulent larva infests a host plant in order to build better defenses for those plants," said Subhashree Subramanyam, a research associate in agronomy and paper co-author.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service funded the research.

A publication-quality photo is available at http://www.purdue.edu/uns/images/2011/williams-hessian.jpg

Abstract on the research in this release is available at: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2011/110614WilliamsPermeablili.html

Brian Wallheimer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.purdue.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Microjet generator for highly viscous fluids
13.02.2018 | Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology

nachricht Sweet route to greater yields
08.02.2018 | Rothamsted Research

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers invent tiny, light-powered wires to modulate brain's electrical signals

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

The “Holy Grail” of peptide chemistry: Making peptide active agents available orally

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected

21.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>