Signal signature and transcriptome changes of Arabidopsis during pathogen and insect attack

Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2005 Sep;18(9):923-37. doi: 10.1094/MPMI-18-0923.


Plant defenses against pathogens and insects are regulated differentially by cross-communicating signaling pathways in which salicylic acid (SA), jasmonic acid (JA), and ethylene (ET) play key roles. To understand how plants integrate pathogen- and insect-induced signals into specific defense responses, we monitored the dynamics of SA, JA, and ET signaling in Arabidopsis after attack by a set of microbial pathogens and herbivorous insects with different modes of attack. Arabidopsis plants were exposed to a pathogenic leaf bacterium (Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato), a pathogenic leaf fungus (Alternaria brassicicola), tissue-chewing caterpillars (Pieris rapae), cell-content-feeding thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis), or phloem-feeding aphids (Myzus persicae). Monitoring the signal signature in each plant-attacker combination showed that the kinetics of SA, JA, and ET production varies greatly in both quantity and timing. Analysis of global gene expression profiles demonstrated that the signal signature characteristic of each Arabidopsis-attacker combination is orchestrated into a surprisingly complex set of transcriptional alterations in which, in all cases, stress-related genes are overrepresented. Comparison of the transcript profiles revealed that consistent changes induced by pathogens and insects with very different modes of attack can show considerable overlap. Of all consistent changes induced by A. brassicicola, Pieris rapae, and E occidentalis, more than 50% also were induced consistently by P. syringae. Notably, although these four attackers all stimulated JA biosynthesis, the majority of the changes in JA-responsive gene expression were attacker specific. All together, our study shows that SA, JA, and ET play a primary role in the orchestration of the plant's defense response, but other regulatory mechanisms, such as pathway cross-talk or additional attacker-induced signals, eventually shape the highly complex attacker-specific defense response.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alternaria / pathogenicity
  • Animals
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / microbiology
  • Arabidopsis / parasitology
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Base Sequence
  • Cyclopentanes / metabolism
  • DNA, Plant / genetics
  • Ethylenes / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genes, Plant
  • Genetic Markers
  • Insecta / pathogenicity
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Oxylipins
  • Plant Diseases / genetics*
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology
  • Plant Diseases / parasitology
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Pseudomonas syringae / pathogenicity
  • Salicylic Acid / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Cyclopentanes
  • DNA, Plant
  • Ethylenes
  • Genetic Markers
  • Oxylipins
  • jasmonic acid
  • ethylene
  • Salicylic Acid