Depending on geographical location, plants are exposed to variable amounts of UVB radiation and herbivore attack. Because the role(s) of UVB in the priming and/or accumulation of plant defence metabolites against herbivores are not well understood, we used field-grown Nicotiana attenuata plants to explore the effects of UVB on herbivore performance. Consistent with previous reports, UVB-exposed plants accumulated higher levels of ultraviolet (UV)-absorbing compounds (rutin, chlorogenic acid, crypto-chlorogenic acid and dicaffeoylspermidine). Furthermore, UVB increased the accumulation of jasmonic acid, jasmonoyl-L-isoleucine and abscisic acid, all phytohormones which regulate plant defence against biotic and abiotic stress. In herbivore bioassays, N.attenuata plants experimentally protected from UVB were more infested by mirids in three consecutive field seasons. Among defence metabolites measured, 17-hydroxygeranyllinalool diterpene glycosides (HGL-DTGs) showed strongly altered accumulation patterns. While constitutive HGL-DTGs levels were higher under UVB, N.attenuata plants exposed to mirid bugs (Tupiocoris notatus) had still more HGL-DTGs under UVB, and mirids preferred to feed on HGL-DTGs-silenced plants when other UVB protecting factors were eliminated by UVB filters. We conclude that UVB exposure not only stimulates UV protective screens but also affects plant defence mechanisms, such as HGL-DTGs accumulation, and modulates ecological interactions of N.attenuata with its herbivores in nature. The ecological interaction of Nicotiana attenuata and Tupiocoris notatus under natural and attenuated UVB fluences in the field was studied. N. attenuata plants accumulated more HGL-DTGs which could function not only in UVB resistance but also as defenses against T. notatus, an abundant herbivore in the plant's natural habitat. This study contributes to our knowledge of solar UVB effects on terrestrial plants and their ecological interactions.
- 17-hydroxygeranyllinalool diterpene glycosides (HGL-DTGs)
- Manduca sexta (tobacco hornworm)
- Plant-herbivore interactions
- Tupiocoris notatus (mirid bug)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science