Venus flytrap carnivorous lifestyle builds on herbivore defense strategies

Genome Res. 2016 Jun;26(6):812-25. doi: 10.1101/gr.202200.115. Epub 2016 May 4.


Although the concept of botanical carnivory has been known since Darwin's time, the molecular mechanisms that allow animal feeding remain unknown, primarily due to a complete lack of genomic information. Here, we show that the transcriptomic landscape of the Dionaea trap is dramatically shifted toward signal transduction and nutrient transport upon insect feeding, with touch hormone signaling and protein secretion prevailing. At the same time, a massive induction of general defense responses is accompanied by the repression of cell death-related genes/processes. We hypothesize that the carnivory syndrome of Dionaea evolved by exaptation of ancient defense pathways, replacing cell death with nutrient acquisition.

MeSH terms

  • Droseraceae / cytology
  • Droseraceae / genetics*
  • Droseraceae / metabolism
  • Genome, Plant
  • Herbivory
  • Plant Leaves / cytology
  • Plant Leaves / genetics
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plant Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcriptome


  • Plant Proteins