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Transcriptome analysis of aphids exposed to glandular trichomes reveals stress and starvation related responses

Understanding the responses of insect herbivores to plant chemical defenses is pivotal for the management of crops and pests. However, the mechanisms of interaction are not entirely understood. This study compared the whole transcriptome gene expression of the aphid Macrosiphum euphorbiae grown on two different varieties of tomato that differ in their inducible chemical defenses.

The researchers used two isogenic lines of tomato with a shared genetic background that only differ in the presence of type IV glandular trichomes and their associated acylsucrose excretions. This works also reports a de novo transcriptome of the aphid M. euphorbiae. Subsequently, the researchers identified a unique and distinct gene expression profile for the first time corresponding to aphid´s exposure to type IV glandular trichomes and acylsugars. The analysis of the aphid transcriptome shows that tomato glandular trichomes and their associated secretions are highly efficient in triggering stress-related responses in the aphid and demonstrating that their role in plant defense goes beyond the physical impediment of herbivore activity.

Some of the differentially expressed genes were associated with carbohydrate, lipid, and xenobiotic metabolisms, the immune system, oxidative stress response, and hormone biosynthesis pathways. Also, the observed responses are compatible with starvation syndrome. The transcriptome analysis puts forward a wide range of genes involved in the synthesis and regulation of detoxification enzymes that reveal important underlying mechanisms in the interaction of the aphid with its host plant and provides a valuable genomic resource for future study of biological processes at the molecular level using this aphid.

Read the complete research at

Planelló, R., Llorente, L., Herrero, Ó., et al. Transcriptome analysis of aphids exposed to glandular trichomes in tomato reveals stress and starvation related responses. Sci Rep 12, 20154 (2022). 

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