, Volume 236, Issue 4, pp 1053–1066 | Cite as

Role of trichomes in defense against herbivores: comparison of herbivore response to woolly and hairless trichome mutants in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum)

  • Donglan Tian
  • John Tooker
  • Michelle Peiffer
  • Seung Ho Chung
  • Gary W. FeltonEmail author
Original Article


Trichomes contribute to plant resistance against herbivory by physical and chemical deterrents. To better understand their role in plant defense, we systemically studied trichome morphology, chemical composition and the response of the insect herbivores Helicoverpa zea and Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Colorado potato beetle = CPB) on the tomato hairless (hl), hairy (woolly) mutants and wild-type Rutgers (RU) and Alisa Craig (AC) plants. Hairless mutants showed reduced number of twisted glandular trichomes (types I, IV, VI and VII) on leaf and stem compared to wild-type Rutgers (RU), while woolly mutants showed high density of non-glandular trichomes (types II, III and V) but only on the leaf. In both mutants, trichome numbers were increased by methyl jasmonate (MeJA), but the types of trichomes present were not affected by MeJA treatment. Glandular trichomes contained high levels of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes. A similar pattern of transcript accumulation was observed for monoterpene MTS1 (=TPS5) and sesquiterpene synthase SST1 (=TPS9) genes in trichomes. While high density of non-glandular trichome on leaves negatively influenced CPB feeding behavior and growth, it stimulated H. zea growth. High glandular trichome density impaired H. zea growth, but had no effect on CPB. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) showed that glandular trichomes highly express protein inhibitors (PIN2), polyphenol oxidase (PPOF) and hydroperoxide lyase (HPL) when compared to non-glandular trichomes. The SlCycB2 gene, which participates in woolly trichome formation, was highly expressed in the woolly mutant trichomes. PIN2 in trichomes was highly induced by insect feeding in both mutant and wild-type plants. Thus, both the densities of trichomes and the chemical defenses residing in the trichomes are inducible.


Jasmonate Plant defenses Induced defenses Herbivores Leptinotarsa decemlineata Helicoverpa zea 



Hairy mutant


Hairless mutant


Rutgers wild-type plants of woolly mutant


Alisa Craig, wild-type plants of hairless mutant


Methyl jasmonate


Protease inhibitor 2


Hydroperoxide lyase


B-type cyclin


Polyphenol oxidase


Colorado potato beetle



The support of the United State Department of Agriculture, National Research Initiative is greatly appreciated (2007-35302-18218, awarded to G.W.F.). Tomato seeds were provided by the Tomato Genetics Resource Center (University of California, Davis, CA, USA).

Supplementary material

425_2012_1651_MOESM1_ESM.docx (17 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 17 kb)
425_2012_1651_MOESM2_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 16 kb)
425_2012_1651_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (9 kb)
Fig.S1. Oviposition choice on different mutants. Not significantly different among the mutants. F= 0.03, P= 0.993 for H.zea; F=0.09, P=0.967 for CPB (n=8). (PDF 9 kb)
425_2012_1651_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (173 kb)
Fig.S2. Oviposition of H.zea and CPB in woolly mutant. a) H.zea egg on woolly leaf surface with non-glandular trichomes. b) H.zea eggs on woolly stem with both glandular and glandular trichomes c) CPB lay eggs on underside leaf of woolly mutant. (PDF 174 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donglan Tian
    • 1
  • John Tooker
    • 1
  • Michelle Peiffer
    • 1
  • Seung Ho Chung
    • 1
  • Gary W. Felton
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Entomology, Center for Chemical EcologyPenn State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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