Pre-exposure of Arabidopsis to the abiotic or biotic environmental stimuli "chilling" or "insect eggs" exhibits different transcriptomic responses to herbivory

Sci Rep. 2016 Jun 22:6:28544. doi: 10.1038/srep28544.


Plants can retain information about environmental stress and thus, prepare themselves for impending stress. In nature, it happens that environmental stimuli like 'cold' and 'insect egg deposition' precede insect herbivory. Both these stimuli are known to elicit transcriptomic changes in Arabidposis thaliana. It is unknown, however, whether they affect the plant's anti-herbivore defence and feeding-induced transcriptome when they end prior to herbivory. Here we investigated the transcriptomic response of Arabidopsis to feeding by Pieris brassicae larvae after prior exposure to cold or oviposition. The transcriptome of plants that experienced a five-day-chilling period (4 °C) was not fully reset to the pre-chilling state after deacclimation (20 °C) for one day and responded differently to herbivory than that of chilling-inexperienced plants. In contrast, when after a five-day-lasting oviposition period the eggs were removed, one day later the transcriptome and, consistently, also its response to herbivory resembled that of egg-free plants. Larval performance was unaffected by previous exposure of plants to cold and to eggs, thus indicating P. brassicae tolerance to cold-mediated plant transcriptomic changes. Our results show strong differences in the persistence of the plant's transcriptomic state after removal of different environmental cues, and consequently differential effects on the transcriptomic response to later herbivory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Butterflies / physiology
  • Cold Temperature
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genes, Plant
  • Herbivory / physiology*
  • Larva / physiology
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Oviposition
  • Plant Leaves / genetics
  • Plant Leaves / physiology
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Transcriptome