Aphids are economically important pests that display exceptional variation in host range. The determinants of diverse aphid host ranges are not well understood, but it is likely that molecular interactions are involved. With significant progress being made towards understanding host responses upon aphid attack, the mechanisms underlying non-host resistance remain to be elucidated. Here, we investigated and compared Arabidopsis thaliana host and non-host responses to aphids at the transcriptional level using three different aphid species, Myzus persicae, Myzus cerasi and Rhopalosiphum pisum. Gene expression analyses revealed a high level of overlap in the overall gene expression changes during the host and non-host interactions with regards to the sets of genes differentially expressed and the direction of expression changes. Despite this overlap in transcriptional responses across interactions, there was a stronger repression of genes involved in metabolism and oxidative responses specifically during the host interaction with M. persicae. In addition, we identified a set of genes with opposite gene expression patterns during the host versus non-host interactions. Aphid performance assays on Arabidopsis mutants that were selected based on our transcriptome analyses identified novel genes contributing to host susceptibility, host defences during interactions with M. persicae as well to non-host resistance against R. padi. Understanding how plants respond to aphid species that differ in their ability to infest plant species, and identifying the genes and signaling pathways involved, is essential for the development of novel and durable aphid control in crop plants.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology