, Volume 34, Issue 10, pp 1302-1310
Date: 19 Aug 2008

Comparative Innate Responses of the Aphid Parasitoid Diaeretiella rapae to Alkenyl Glucosinolate Derived Isothiocyanates, Nitriles, and Epithionitriles

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Cruciferous plants (Brassicaceae) are characterized by the accumulation of a group of secondary metabolites known as glucosinolates that, following attack by pathogens or herbivores, may be hydrolyzed to one of a number of products including isothiocyanates and nitriles. Despite the range of hydrolysis products that may be produced, the toxicity of glucosinolates to pathogens and herbivores may be explained largely by the production of isothiocyanates. Isothiocyanates are also known to provide an indirect defense by acting as host finding cues for parasitoids of insect herbivores that attack crucifers. It has been speculated that nitriles may provide a similar indirect defense. Here, we investigate the olfactory perception and orientation behavior of the aphid parasitoid Diaeretiella rapae, to a range of alkenylglucosinolate hydrolysis products, including isothiocyanates, nitriles, and epithionitriles. Electroantennogram responses indicated peripheral odor perception in D. rapae females to all 3-butenylglucosinolate hydrolysis products tested. By contrast, of the 2-propenylglucosinolate hydrolysis products tested, only the isothiocyanate elicited significant responses. Despite showing peripheral olfactory detection of a range of 3-butenylglucosinolate hydrolysis products, naïve females oriented only to the isothiocyanate. Similarly, parasitoids oriented to 3-isothiocyanatoprop-1-ene, but not to the corresponding nitrile or epithionitrile. However, by rearing D. rapae either on Brassica nigra, characterized by the accumulation of 2-propenylglucosinolate, or Brassica rapa var rapifera, characterized by the accumulation of 3-butenylglucosinolate, altered the innate response of parasitoids to 3-isothiocyanatoprop-1-ene and 4-isothiocyanatobut-1-ene. These results are discussed in relation to the defensive roles of glucosinolate hydrolysis products and the influence of the host plant on aphid parasitoid behavior.