Plant resistance in different cell layers affects aphid probing and feeding behaviour during non-host and poor-host interactions

Carmen Escudero-Martinez, Daniel J. Leybourne, Jorunn I. B. Bos (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
220 Downloads (Pure)


Aphids are phloem-feeding insects that cause economic losses to crops globally. Whilst aphid interactions with susceptible plants and partially resistant genotypes have been well characterized, the interactions between aphids and non-host species are not well understood. Unravelling these non-host interactions can identify the mechanisms which contribute to plant resistance. Using contrasting aphid-host plant systems, including the broad host range pest Myzus persicae (host: Arabidopsis; poor-host: barley) and the cereal pest Rhopalosiphum padi (host: barley; non-host: Arabidopsis), we conducted a range of physiological experiments and compared aphid settling and probing behaviour on a host plant vs either a non-host or poor-host. In choice experiments, we observed that around 10% of aphids selected a non-host or poor-host plant species after 24 h. Using the Electrical Penetration Graph technique, we showed that feeding and probing behaviours differ during non-host and poor-host interactions when compared with a host interaction. In the Arabidopsis non-host interaction with the cereal pest R. padi aphids were unable to reach and feed on the phloem, with resistance likely residing in the mesophyll cell layer. In the barley poor-host interaction with M. persicae, resistance is likely phloem-based as phloem ingestion was reduced compared with the host interaction. Overall, our data suggest that plant resistance to aphids in non-host and poor-host interactions with these aphid species likely resides in different plant cell layers. Future work will take into account specific cell layers where resistances are based to dissect the underlying mechanisms and gain a better understanding of how we may improve crop resistance to aphids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-38
Number of pages8
JournalBulletin of Entomological Research
Issue number1
Early online date16 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Aphid
  • EPG analyses
  • nonhost
  • plant resistance
  • probing
  • stylet pathway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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