Biology and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant-Aphid Interactions

A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450). This special issue belongs to the section "Insect Molecular Biology and Genomics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 June 2024 | Viewed by 3960

Special Issue Editor

1. United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), Plant Science Research Laboratory, Stillwater, OK 74075, USA
2. Department of Plant Biology, Ecology, and Evolution, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA
Interests: aphid; crop protection; crop science; DNA marker; genomics; plant biotechnology; plant genetics; plant-aphid interaction; plant resistance; QTL mapping
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Aphids are key pests of crop plants throughout the world because they pose serious threats to crop production. As phloem-feeding insects, aphids suck plant juices and secrete sticky “honeydew”, causing serious damage to the host plants. Fortunately, some plants often can withstand aphid feeding with no adverse effect. These plants can mount a successful defense using their natural genetics or alter the ways they interact with aphids; thus, host plant resistance has been used for effective aphid control in many crops. Interactions between plants and aphids happens in parallel or as coevolution, leading to the development of their new relationship, under which aphids must evolve innovative ways to feed and colonize on their hosts, whereas plants must develop novel compounds, express special gene(s) or modify the regulatory mechanisms to defend against aphids. The mechanisms of plant defense against aphids are complicated, highly dynamic, and wide-ranging and involve direct and indirect defenses. Recent studies of plant-aphid interactions by comparing transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic data led to identification of key genes, proteins, and chemical compounds derived from the plant-aphid interactions, which offer new insight into the molecular mechanisms of plant defense against aphids. The Special Issue welcomes papers on various aspects of plant-aphid interactions, particularly on molecular mechanisms.

Dr. Yinghua Huang
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • aphids
  • genetics
  • host plant defense
  • defense mechanism
  • molecular response
  • phytohormone
  • plant-aphid interaction
  • plant immunity
  • plant resistance

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

12 pages, 1476 KiB  
Article
The Characterization of Melanaphis sacchari Microbiota and Antibiotic Treatment Effect on Insects
Insects 2023, 14(10), 807; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14100807 - 11 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 848
Abstract
Insects are under constant selective pressure, which has resulted in adaptations to novel niches such as crops. This is the case of the pest Melanaphis sacchari, the sugarcane aphid, native to Africa and currently spreading worldwide. The aphid undergoes successful parthenogenesis, causing [...] Read more.
Insects are under constant selective pressure, which has resulted in adaptations to novel niches such as crops. This is the case of the pest Melanaphis sacchari, the sugarcane aphid, native to Africa and currently spreading worldwide. The aphid undergoes successful parthenogenesis, causing important damage to a variety of crops and leading to important economic losses for farmers. A natural M. sacchari population grown in sorghum was studied to identify its microbiome through the sequencing of its 16S rDNA metagenome. A high proportion of Proteobacteria, followed by Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, and Actinobacteria, was observed. We also detected Wolbachia, which correlates with the asexual reproduction of its host. M. sacchari was challenged in a bioassay with the antibiotics oxytetracycline and streptomycin, resulting in a dose-dependent decay of its survival rate. The possibility of controlling this pest by altering its microbiota is proposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biology and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant-Aphid Interactions)
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15 pages, 1526 KiB  
Article
A Method for Identification of Biotype-Specific Salivary Effector Candidates of Aphid
Insects 2023, 14(9), 760; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14090760 - 13 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1053
Abstract
Polyphagous aphids often consist of host-specialized biotypes that perform poorly in non-native hosts. The underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Host-specialized biotypes may express biotype-specific salivary effectors or elicitors that determine aphid hosts. Here, we tried three strategies to identify possible effectors in Malvaceae- (MA) [...] Read more.
Polyphagous aphids often consist of host-specialized biotypes that perform poorly in non-native hosts. The underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Host-specialized biotypes may express biotype-specific salivary effectors or elicitors that determine aphid hosts. Here, we tried three strategies to identify possible effectors in Malvaceae- (MA) and Cucurbitaceae-specialized (CU) biotypes of the cotton-melon aphid Aphis gossypii Glover. The whole-aphid RNA-seq identified 765 differentially expressed genes (DEGs), and 139 of them were possible effectors; aphid-head RNA-seq identified 523 DEGs were identified, and 98 of them were possible effectors. The homologous genes of published aphid effectors were not differentially expressed between CU and MA. Next, quantitative proteomic analyses of saliva identified 177 possible proteins, and 44 of them were different proteins. However, none of the genes of the 44 proteins were differentially expressed, reflecting the discrepancy between transcriptome and proteome data. Finally, we searched for DEGs of the 177 salivary proteins in the aphid-head transcriptomes, and the salivary proteins with expression differences were regarded as effector candidates. Through this strategy, 11 effector candidates were identified, and their expression differences were all confirmed by RT-qPCR. The combinatorial analysis has great potential to identify biotype-specific effector candidates in aphids and other sap-sucking insects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biology and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant-Aphid Interactions)
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14 pages, 2674 KiB  
Article
Different Tea Germplasms Distinctly Influence the Adaptability of Toxoptera aurantii (Hemiptera: Aphididae)
Insects 2023, 14(8), 695; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14080695 - 07 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 702
Abstract
Aphids are typical phloem-sucking insect pests. A good understanding regarding their feeding behavior and population dynamics are critical for evaluating host adaptation and screening of aphid-resistant resources. Herein, the adaptability of Toxoptera aurantii (Boyer) (Hemiptera: Aphididae) to different hosts was evaluated via electropenetrography [...] Read more.
Aphids are typical phloem-sucking insect pests. A good understanding regarding their feeding behavior and population dynamics are critical for evaluating host adaptation and screening of aphid-resistant resources. Herein, the adaptability of Toxoptera aurantii (Boyer) (Hemiptera: Aphididae) to different hosts was evaluated via electropenetrography and an age-stage, two-sex life table on six tea germplasms: Zikui (ZK), Zhongcha108 (ZC108), Zhongcha111 (ZC111), Qianmei419 (QM419), Meitan5 (MT5), and Fudingdabaicha (FD). Our findings revealed that the feeding activities of T. aurantii differed considerably among the host plants. T. aurantii exhibited significantly more pathway activities on ZK and FD than on the other hosts. However, the duration of feeding of T. aurantii on ZK phloem considerably decreased compared with those of the other germplasms. Life parameters indicated that T. aurantii exhibited the highest intrinsic rate of increase (r), net reproductive rate (R0), and finite rate of increase (λ) on MT5, and the maximum values of total longevity and oviposition period were recorded on FD; these variables were reduced significantly on ZK. The results of our study demonstrate that T. aurantii can successfully survive on the six tea germplasms; however, ZK was less suitable for T. aurantii and should be considered as a potential source of resistance in breeding and Integrated Pest Management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biology and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant-Aphid Interactions)
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16 pages, 3249 KiB  
Article
Multifunctionality of Jasmonic Acid Accumulation during Aphid Infestation in Altering the Plant Physiological Traits That Suppress the Plant Defenses in Wheat Cultivar XN979
Insects 2023, 14(7), 622; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14070622 - 11 Jul 2023
Viewed by 827
Abstract
Crop plants have coevolved phytohormone-mediated defenses to combat and/or repel their colonizers. The present study determined the effects of jasmonic acid (JA) accumulation during aphid infestation on the preference and performance of Sitobion miscanthi Takahashi (Hemiptera: Aphididae), and its potential role in fine-tuning [...] Read more.
Crop plants have coevolved phytohormone-mediated defenses to combat and/or repel their colonizers. The present study determined the effects of jasmonic acid (JA) accumulation during aphid infestation on the preference and performance of Sitobion miscanthi Takahashi (Hemiptera: Aphididae), and its potential role in fine-tuning hormone-dependent responses in XN979 wheat cultivar seedlings was evaluated via the transcriptional profiles of marker genes related to JA- and salicylic acid (SA)-dependent responses. The preference experiment and the life table data reveal that direct foliage spraying of 2.5 mM methyl jasmonate (MeJA) exhibited weak negative or positive effects on the preferential selection and the population dynamics and oviposition parameters of S. miscanthi. The transcription level of phytohormone biosynthesis genes shows that foliage spraying of MeJA significantly upregulated the marker genes in the JA biosynthesis pathway while downregulating the SA pathway. In addition, either MeJA treatment or previous aphid infestation significantly induced upregulated transcription of the genes involved in the JA- and SA-dependent defense responses, and the transcription level of the tryptophan decarboxylase (TaTDC) gene, which facilitates the conversion of L-tryptophan to tryptamine, was rapidly upregulated after the treatments as well. The main products of tryptamine conversion could play a crucial role in suppressing SA-dependent defense responses. These results will provide more experimental evidence to enable understanding of the antagonistic interaction between hormone signaling processes in cereals under aphid infestation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biology and Molecular Mechanisms of Plant-Aphid Interactions)
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