Physiological and molecular mechanism of Populus pseudo-cathayana × Populus deltoides response to Hyphantria cunea

Pestic Biochem Physiol. 2024 Jun:202:105969. doi: 10.1016/j.pestbp.2024.105969. Epub 2024 May 26.


Populus pseudo-cathayana × Populus deltoides is a crucial artificial forest tree species in Northeast China. The presence of the fall webworm (Hyphantria cunea) poses a significant threat to these poplar trees, causing substantial economic and ecological damage. This study conducted an insect-feeding experiment with fall webworm on P. pseudo-cathayana × P. deltoides, examining poplar's physiological indicators, transcriptome, and metabolome under different lengths of feeding times. Results revealed significant differences in phenylalanine ammonia-lyase activity, total phenolic content, and flavonoids at different feeding durations. Transcriptomic analysis identified numerous differentially expressed genes, including AP2/ERF, MYB, and WRKY transcription factor families exhibiting the highest expression variations. Differential metabolite analysis highlighted flavonoids and phenolic acid compounds of poplar's leaves as the most abundant in our insect-feeding experiment. Enrichment analysis revealed significant enrichment in the plant hormone signal transduction and flavonoid biosynthetic pathways. The contents of jasmonic acid and jasmonoyl-L-isoleucine increased with prolonged fall webworm feeding. Furthermore, the accumulation of dihydrokaempferol, catechin, kaempferol, and naringenin in the flavonoid biosynthesis pathway varied significantly among different samples, suggesting their crucial role in response to pest infestation. These findings provide novel insights into how poplar responds to fall webworm infestation.

Keywords: Hyphantria cunea; Jasmonic acid; Metabonomics; Populus; Transcriptomics.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Coleoptera / metabolism
  • Coleoptera / physiology
  • Cyclopentanes / metabolism
  • Flavonoids / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Moths / genetics
  • Moths / physiology
  • Oxylipins / metabolism
  • Phenylalanine Ammonia-Lyase / genetics
  • Phenylalanine Ammonia-Lyase / metabolism
  • Plant Growth Regulators / metabolism
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Populus* / genetics
  • Populus* / metabolism
  • Transcriptome


  • Flavonoids
  • jasmonic acid
  • Oxylipins
  • Phenylalanine Ammonia-Lyase
  • Cyclopentanes
  • Plant Growth Regulators