Reciprocal responses in the interaction between Arabidopsis and the cell-content feeding chelicerate herbivore Tetranychus urticae

Most molecular-genetic studies of plant defense responses to arthropod herbivores have focused on insects. However, plant-feeding mites are also pests of diverse plants, and mites induce different patterns of damage to plant tissues than do well-studied insects (e.g., Lepidopteran larvae or aphids). The two-spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae, is among the most significant mite pests in agriculture that feeds on a staggering number of plant hosts. To understand interactions between T. urticae and a plant at the molecular level, we examined reciprocal genome-wide responses of mites and its host Arabidopsis thaliana. Despite differences in feeding guilds, we found that transcriptional responses of A. thaliana to mite herbivory resembled those observed for Lepidopteran herbivores. Mutant analysis of induced plant defense pathways showed functionally that only a subset of induced programs, including JA signaling and biosynthesis of indole glucosinolates, are central to A. thaliana's defense to mite herbivory. On the herbivore side, indole glucosinolates dramatically increased mite mortality and development times. We identified an indole glucosinolate dosedependent increase in the number of differentially expressed mite genes belonging to pathways associated with detoxification of xenobiotics. This demonstrates that T. urticae is sensitive to A. thaliana defenses that have also been associated with deterrence of insect herbivores that are very distantly related to chelicerates. Our findings provide molecular insights into the nature of, and response to, herbivory for a representative of a major class of arthropod herbivores.

Zhurov, V., Navarro, M., Bruinsma, K.A., Arbona, V., Santamaria, M.E., Wybouw, M.C.N., Osborne, E.J., Ens, C., Rioja, C., Vermeirssen, V., Rubio-Somoza, I., Krishna, P., Diaz, I., Schmid, M., Gómez-Cadenas, A., Van de Peer, Y., Grbic, M., Clark, R.M., Van Leeuwen, T., Grbic, V. (2014) Reciprocal responses in the interaction between Arabidopsis and the cell-content feeding chelicerate herbivore Tetranychus urticae. Plant Physiol. 164(1):384-399.

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