Variation in both host defense and prior herbivory can alter plant-vector-virus interactions

Xiaobin Shi, Evan L. Preisser, Baiming Liu, Huipeng Pan, Min Xiang, Wen Xie, Shaoli Wang, Qingjun Wu, Chuanyou Li, Yong Liu, Xuguo Zhou, Youjun Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: While virus-vector-host interactions have been a major focus of both basic and applied ecological research, little is known about how different levels of plant defense interact with prior herbivory to affect these relationships. We used genetically-modified strains of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) varying in the jasmonic acid (JA) plant defense pathways to explore how plant defense and prior herbivory affects a plant virus (tomato yellow leaf curl virus, 'TYLCV'), its vector (the whitefly Bemisia tabaci MED), and the host. Results: Virus-free MED preferred low-JA over high-JA plants and had lower fitness on high-JA plants. Viruliferous MED preferred low-JA plants but their survival was unaffected by JA levels. While virus-free MED did not lower plant JA levels, viruliferous MED decreased both JA levels and the expression of JA-related genes. Infestation by viruliferous MED reduced plant JA levels. In preference tests, neither virus-free nor viruliferous MED discriminated among JA-varying plants previously exposed to virus-free MED. However, both virus-free and viruliferous MED preferred low-JA plant genotypes when choosing between plants that had both been previously exposed to viruliferous MED. The enhanced preference for low-JA genotypes appears linked to the volatile compound neophytadiene, which was found only in whitefly-infested plants and at concentrations inversely related to plant JA levels. Conclusions: Our findings illustrate how plant defense can interact with prior herbivory to affect both a plant virus and its whitefly vector, and confirm the induction of neophytadiene by MED. The apparent attraction of MED to neophytadiene may prove useful in pest detection and management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number556
JournalBMC Plant Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 16 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (2017YFD0200400); the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31420103919; 31571982; 31772171); Funds for Science and Technology Innovation Project from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS-XTCX2016015); the Agriculture Research System of China (CARS-23-D-02); and Hunan Talent Project (2016RS2019). None of the funding bodies played any role in the design of the study and collection, analysis, and interpretation of data and in writing the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s).


  • Bemisia tabaci
  • Jasmonic acid
  • Plant defense
  • Plant volatile
  • Virus-vector-host interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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