TITLE

Transgenic upregulation of the condensed tannin pathway in poplar leads to a dramatic shift in leaf palatability for two tree-feeding Lepidoptera

AUTHOR(S)
Boeckler, G.; Towns, Megan; Unsicker, Sybille; Mellway, Robin; Yip, Lynn; Hilke, Ines; Gershenzon, Jonathan; Constabel, C.
PUB. DATE
February 2014
SOURCE
Journal of Chemical Ecology;Feb2014, Vol. 40 Issue 2, p150
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Transgenic hybrid aspen ( Populus tremula x tremuloides) overexpressing the MYB134 tannin regulatory gene show dramatically enhanced condensed tannin (proanthocyanidin) levels, as well as shifts in other phenolic metabolites. A series of insect bioassays with forest tent caterpillars ( Malacosoma disstria) and gypsy moth ( Lymantria dispar) caterpillars was carried out to determine how this metabolic shift affects food preference and performance of generalist tree-feeding lepidopterans. Both species showed a distinct preference for the high-tannin MYB134 overexpressor plants, and L. dispar performance was enhanced relative to controls. L. dispar reached greater pupal weight and showed reduced time to pupation when reared on the MYB134 overexpressing poplar. These results were unexpected since enhanced condensed tannin levels were predicted to act as feeding deterrents. However, the data may be explained by the observed decrease in the salicinoids (phenolic glycosides) salicortin and tremulacin that accompanied the upregulation of the condensed tannins in the transgenics. We conclude that for these two lepidopteran species, condensed tannin levels are unlikely to be a major determinant of caterpillar food preference or performance. However, our experiments show that overexpression of a single regulatory gene in transgenic aspen can have a significant impact on herbivorous insects.
ACCESSION #
94741054

 

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