, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 623–635 | Cite as

Rhizophagus intraradices promotes alfalfa (Medicago sativa) defense against pea aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum) revealed by RNA-Seq analysis

  • Yingde Li
  • Zhibiao Nan
  • Tingyu DuanEmail author
Original Article


Pea aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum) are one of the most important insect pests of alfalfa (Medicago sativa). Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are important microorganisms of the agroecosystem that promote plant growth and improve plant resistance to abiotic and biotic stress. Little information is available on AM fungi-regulated defense responses of alfalfa to pea aphids. To better understand how alfalfa responds and to evaluate the impact of an AM fungus on aphid infestation, transcriptome sequencing was done and physiological parameters were analyzed. Our experiments showed that Rhizophagus intraradices can regulate plant response to aphids by promoting growth and increasing plant peroxidase (POD) and catalase (CAT) activities and salicylic acid (SA) concentration after aphid infestation. Transcriptome analysis showed that R. intraradices increased the expression of resistance-related genes, such as “WRKY transcription factor” and “Kunitz trypsin inhibitor.” Additionally, GO terms “chitinase activity,” “peroxidase activity,” “defense response,” and “response to biotic stimulus,” and KEGG pathways “phenylpropanoid biosynthesis” and “phenylalanine metabolism” were significantly enriched in mycorrhizal fungus-inoculated plants and aphid-infested plants. These findings will improve our understanding about the impact of this AM fungus on alfalfa response to aphid feeding and will provide the basis for further research on plant defense against aphids.


Medicago sativa Acyrthosiphon pisum Rhizophagus intraradices RNA-Seq 


Funding information

This research was funded by China Modern Agriculture Research System (CARS-22 Green Manure).

Supplementary material

572_2019_915_MOESM1_ESM.docx (28 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 28 kb)
572_2019_915_MOESM2_ESM.docx (2.4 mb)
ESM 2 (DOCX 2422 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Grassland Agro-Ecosystems Lanzhou UnviersityLanzhouChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Grassland Livestock Industry Innovation, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural AffairsLanzhouChina
  3. 3.College of Pastoral Agriculture Science and TechnologyLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina

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