Symbiont-mediated changes in Lolium arundinaceum inducible defenses: Evidence from changes in gene expression and leaf composition

Terrence J. Sullivan, John Rodstrom, Joshua Vandop, James Librizzi, Candace Graham, Christopher L. Schardl, Thomas L. Bultman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


• Plants have multiple strategies to deal with herbivory, ranging from chemical or physical defenses to tolerating damage and allocating resources for regrowth. Grasses usually tolerate herbivory, but for some cool-season grasses, their strategy may depend upon their interactions with intracellular symbionts. Neotyphodium endophytes are common symbionts in pooid grasses, and, for some host species, they provide chemical defenses against both vertebrate and invertebrate herbivores. • Here, it was tested whether defenses provided by Neotyphodium coenophialum in Lolium arundinaceum (tall fescue) are inducible by both mechanical damage and herbivory from an invertebrate herbivore, Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm), via a bioassay and by quantifying mRNA expression for lolC, a gene required for loline biosysnthesis. • Both mechanical and herbivore damage had a negative effect on the reproduction of a subsequent herbivore, Rhopalosiphum padi (bird cherry-oat aphid), and herbivore damage caused an up-regulation of lolC. Uninfected grass hosts also had significantly higher foliar N% and lower C : N ratio compared with infected hosts, suggesting greater allocation to growth rather than defense. • For L. arundinaceum, N. coenophialum appears to switch its host's defensive strategy from tolerance via compensation to resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-679
Number of pages7
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Endophyte
  • Herbivory
  • Induced defenses
  • Lolium arundinaceum
  • Neotyphodium
  • Symbiosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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