DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1258.2012.01120

Chinese Journal of Plant Ecology (植物生态学报) 2012/36:10 PP.1120-1124

New discovery about plant defense: plant-plant communication

Plants have developed sophisticated defense systems during their long-time interaction with insects. About three decades ago, it was found that insect-damaged plants can prime their neighbors to express defense proteins, and this phenomenon was called “plant-plant communication”. A series of studies have focused on this topic since then. Results indicate that green-leaf volatiles and terpenes are the main chemicals emitted from the infested plant to the healthy neighbor plants, while direct and indirect defenses of the neighbors may both be regulated. An im-portant consensus about plant-plant communication mechanisms until now is that the volatile organic chemicals do not induce resistance directly, but sensitize the receiver plant for augmented response to subsequent damages, which is called “priming”. However, the molecular mechanism of this phenomenon is unclear. We used Arabidopsis thaliana genome arrays and mutants to examine the molecular mechanisms of plant-plant communication. Our results indicate that several volatiles are effective signals, and the active volatiles are corre-lated with their emission rhythms to achieve the optimum effect. The ethylene pathway is indispensable for sens-ing the induction signal in the early phase of induction, while Jasmonic acid signal can amplify the effects. As the mechanisms of plant-plant communication become clearer, future research may focus on the origin and evolution of this phenomenon.

Key words:ethylene, plant defense, volatile organic compound

ReleaseDate:2014-07-21 16:32:01

Agrawal AA (2000). Communication between plants: this time it’s real. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 15, 446.

Arimura G, Ozawa R, Horiuchi J, Nishioka T, Takabayashi J (2001). Plant-plant interactions mediated by volatiles emitted from plants infested by spider mites. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology, 29, 1049-1061.

Arimura G, Ozawa R, Shimoda T, Nishioka T, Boland W, Takabayashi J (2000). Herbivory-induced volatiles elicit defence genes in lima bean leaves. Nature, 406, 512-515.

Baldwin IT, Halitschke R, Paschold A, von Dahl CC, Preston CA (2006). Volatile signaling in plant-plant interactions: “Talking trees” in the genomics era. Science, 311, 812-815.

Baldwin IT, Kessler A, Halitschke R (2002). Volatile signaling in plant-plant-herbivore interactions: What is real? Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 5, 351-354.

Baldwin IT, Schultz JC (1983). Rapid changes in tree leaf chemistry induced by damage: evidence for communication between plants. Science, 221, 277-279.

Bate NJ, Rothstein SJ (1998). C6-volatiles derived from the lipoxygenase pathway induce a subset of defense-related genes. Plant Journal, 16, 561-569.

Bruin J, Dicke M (2001). Chemical information transfer between wounded and unwounded plants: backing up the future. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology, 29, 1103-1113.

Choh Y, Kugimiya S, Takabayashi J (2006). Induced production of extrafloral nectar in intact lima bean plants in response to volatiles from spider mite-infested conspecific plants as a possible indirect defense against spider mites. Oecologia, 147, 455-460.

Choh Y, Takabayashi J (2006). Herbivore-induced extrafloral nectar production in lima bean plants enhanced by previous exposure to volatiles from infested conspecifics. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 32, 2073-2077.

Dicke M, Bruin J (2001). Chemical information transfer between damaged and undamaged plants. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology, 29, 979-980.

Dicke M, Dijkman H (2001). Within-plant circulation of systemic elicitor of induced defence and release from roots of elicitor that affects neighbouring plants. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology, 29, 1075-1087.

Dolch R, Tscharntke T (2000). Defoliation of alders (Alnus glutinosa) affects herbivory by leaf beetles on undamaged neighbours. Oecologia, 125, 504-511.

Engelberth J, Alborn HT, Schmelz EA, Tumlinson JH (2004). Airborne signals prime plants against insect herbivore attack. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 101, 1781-1785.

Farag MA, Paré PW (2002). C6-green leaf volatiles trigger local and systemic VOC emissions in tomato. Phytochemistry, 61, 545-554.

Farmer EE, Ryan CA (1990). Interplant communication; airborne methyl jasmonate induces synthesis of proteinase inhibitors in plant leaves. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 87, 7713-7716.

Frost CJ, Appel HM, Carlson JE, de Moraes CM, Mescher MC, Schultz JC (2007). Within-plant signalling via volatiles overcomes vascular constraints on systemic signalling and primes responses against herbivores. Ecology Letters, 10, 490-498.

Frost CJ, Mescher MC, Carlson JE, de Moraes CM (2008a). Plant defense priming against herbivores: getting ready for a different battle. Plant Physiology, 146, 818-824.

Frost CJ, Mescher MC, Dervinis C, Davis JM, Carlson JE, de Moraes CM (2008b). Priming defense genes and metabolites in hybrid poplar by the green leaf volatile cis-3-hexenyl acetate. New Phytologist, 180, 722-734.

Heil M, Karban R (2010). Explaining evolution of plant communication by airborne signals. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 25, 137-144.

Heil M, Silva Bueno JC (2007). Within-plant signaling by volatiles leads to induction and priming of an indirect plant defense in nature. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104, 5467-5472.

Heil M, Ton J (2008). Long-distance signalling in plant defence. Trends in Plant Science, 13, 264-272.

Himanen SJ, Blande JD, Klemola T, Pulkkinen J, Heijari J, Holopainen JK (2010). Birch (Betula spp.) leaves adsorb and re-release volatiles specific to neighbouring plants—a mechanism for associational herbivore resistance? New Phytologist, 186, 722-732.

Karban R (2001). Communication between sagebrush and wild tobacco in the field. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology, 29, 995-1005.

Karban R, Baldwin IT, Baxter KJ, Laue G, Felton GW (2000). Communication between plants: induced resistance in wild tobacco plants following clipping of neighboring sagebrush. Oecologia, 125, 66-71.

Kessler A, Halitschke R, Diezel C, Baldwin IT (2006). Priming of plant defense responses in nature by airborne signaling between Artemisia tridentata and Nicotiana attenuata. Oecologia, 148, 280-292.

Kishimoto K, Matsui K, Ozawa R, Takabayashi J (2005). Volatile C6-aldehydes and allo-ocimene activate defense genes and induce resistance against Botrytis cinerea in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant and Cell Physiology, 46, 1093-1102.

Kost C, Heil M (2006). Herbivore-induced plant volatiles induce an indirect defence in neighbouring plants. Journal of Ecology, 94, 619-628.

Rhoades DF (1983). Responses of alder and willow to attack by tent caterpillars and webworms: evidence for pheromonal sensitivity of willows. ACS Symposium Series, 208, 55-68.

Ruther J, Kleier S (2005). Plant-plant signaling: ethylene synergizes volatile emission in Zea mays induced by exposure to (Z)-3-Hexen-1-ol. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 31, 2217-2222.

Ton J, D’Alessandro M, Jourdie V, Jakab G, Karlen D, Held M, Mauch-Mani B, Turlings TCJ (2006). Priming by airborne signals boosts direct and indirect resistance in maize. The Plant Journal, 49, 16-26.

Zhang SF (张苏芳) (2010). Multi-phase Study of Plant Defenses to Leafminer Damage (植物对斑潜蝇防御的多层次研究). PhD dissertation, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei. 65-81. (in Chinese with English abstract)

Zhang SF, Wei JN, Guo XJ, Liu TX, Kang L (2010). Functional synchronization of biological rhythms in a tritrophic system. PLoS ONE, 5, e11064.

Zhang SF, Wei JN, Kang L (2012). Transcriptional analysis of Arabidopsis thaliana response to lima bean volatiles. PLoS ONE, 7, e35867.