, Volume 238, Issue 2, pp 247-258

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Perception, signaling and molecular basis of oviposition-mediated plant responses

  • Philippe ReymondAffiliated withDepartment of Plant Molecular Biology, University of Lausanne Email author 


Eggs deposited on plants by herbivorous insects represent a threat as they develop into feeding larvae. Plants are not a passive substrate and have evolved sophisticated mechanisms to detect eggs and induce direct and indirect defenses. Recent years have seen exciting development in molecular aspects of egg-induced responses. Some egg-associated elicitors have been identified, and signaling pathways and egg-induced expression profiles are being uncovered. Depending on the mode of oviposition, both the jasmonic acid and salicylic acid pathways seem to play a role in the induction of defense responses. An emerging concept is that eggs are recognized like microbial pathogens and innate immune responses are triggered. In addition, some eggs contain elicitors that induce highly specific defenses in plants. Examples of egg-induced suppression of defense or, on the contrary, egg-induced resistance highlight the complexity of plant–egg interactions in an on-going arms race between herbivores and their hosts. A major challenge is to identify plant receptors for egg-associated elicitors, to assess the specificity of these elicitors and to identify molecular components that underlie various responses to oviposition.


Insect oviposition Hypersensitive response Herbivory Egg elicitors SA pathway JA pathway Defense gene expression Plant volatiles