Journal of Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 846–854 | Cite as

Insect Herbivory of Leaves Affects the Auxin Flux Along Root Apices in Arabidopsis thaliana

  • Suli YanEmail author
  • Chunyang Jiao
  • Eric S. McLamore
  • Ningning Wang
  • Hongjun Yao
  • Yingbai ShenEmail author


Plants reduce their growth rate when confronted by insect attack, and in turn resources are redirected from growth to enhance resistance against herbivory. In this study, one possible signaling cascade was investigated for establishing the underlying mechanism for the slow growth rate that has been observed following insect herbivory. Our results showed that free jasmonate (JA) and auxin levels were elevated in both leaves and roots after Plutella xylostella L. attack which was accompanied by the transcriptional increase of the auxin biosynthetic YUCCA3 and YUCCA8 genes. Further examination of endogenous auxin flux using physiological micro-sensor profiling showed that near the surface of the root transition zone, the net auxin flux decreased after insect attack. Conversely, insect herbivory caused an increase in the net H+ flux along the root surface with the most pronounced response occurring in the transition zone. Transcript levels of auxin transporter genes PIN1, PIN2, PIN3, PIN7, and AUX1 were also reduced after insect attack. Together, the auxin and H+ flux results indicate that the reduced growth after insect attack was likely associated with a decrease of auxin flux and proton secretion along the root tip.


Insect herbivory Jasmonic acid Auxin flux Root growth Arabidopsis thaliana 



We would like to thank Yue Xu from Xuyue (Beijing) Science and Technology Company for their technical support. This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31270655) and the National ‘863’ Plan Project (No. 2011AA10020102).

Authors’ Contributions

Yingbai Shen and Suli Yan designed the project. Suli Yan and Chunyang Jiao performed the auxin flux measurement. Ningning Wang and Hongjun Yao performed the H+ flux measurement. Suli Yan and Chunyang Jiao analyzed the data and wrote the manuscript. Eric S. McLamore assisted with data analysis, NMT experiments, and manuscript preparation.

Supplementary material

344_2017_9688_MOESM1_ESM.docx (26 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 25 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Biological Sciences and TechnologyBeijing Forestry UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.National Engineering Laboratory for Tree BreedingBeijing Forestry UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department, Institute of Food and Agricultural SciencesUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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