Targeted plant defense: silicon conserves hormonal defense signaling impacting chewing but not fluid‐feeding herbivores

Article


Johnson, Scott N., Hartley, Susan E., Ryalls, James M. W., Frew, Adam and Hall, Casey R.. 2021. "Targeted plant defense: silicon conserves hormonal defense signaling impacting chewing but not fluid‐feeding herbivores." Ecology. 102 (3), pp. 1-7. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.3250
Article Title

Targeted plant defense: silicon conserves hormonal defense signaling impacting chewing but not fluid‐feeding herbivores

ERA Journal ID3236
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsJohnson, Scott N. (Author), Hartley, Susan E. (Author), Ryalls, James M. W. (Author), Frew, Adam (Author) and Hall, Casey R. (Author)
Journal TitleEcology
Journal Citation102 (3), pp. 1-7
Article Numbere03250
Number of Pages7
Year2021
Place of PublicationUnited States
ISSN0012-9658
1939-9170
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.3250
Web Address (URL)https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ecy.3250
Abstract

Plants deploy an arsenal of chemical and physical defenses against arthropod herbivores, but it may be most cost efficient to produce these only when attacked. Herbivory activates complex signaling pathways involving several phytohormones, including jasmonic acid (JA), which regulate production of defensive compounds. The Poaceae also have the capacity to take up large amounts of silicon (Si) which accumulates in plant tissues. Si accumulation has anti‐herbivore properties, but it is poorly understood how Si defenses relate to defense hormone signaling. Here we show that Si enrichment causes the model grass Brachypodium distachyon to show lower levels of JA induction when attacked by chewing herbivores. Triggering this hormone even at lower concentrations, however, prompts Si uptake and physical defenses (e.g. leaf hairs) which negatively impact chewing herbivores. Removal of leaf hairs restored performance. Crucially, activation of such Si‐based defense is herbivore‐specific and occurred only in response to chewing and not fluid‐feeding (aphid) herbivores. This aligned with our meta‐analysis of 88 studies that showed Si defenses were more effective against chewing herbivores than fluid‐feeders. Our results suggest integration between herbivore defenses in a model Si‐accumulating plant, which potentially allows it to avoid unnecessary activation of other costly defenses.

Keywordsherbivory, insects, jasmonic acid, plant defense, physical defense, silica, silicon
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020410299. Ecological applications not elsewhere classified
310302. Community ecology (excl. invasive species ecology)
310899. Plant biology not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsWestern Sydney University
University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
University of Western Sydney
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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