Vicia faba plants respond to oviposition by invasive Halyomorpha halys activating direct defences against offspring
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The invasive stink bug Halyomorpha halys is established in many European and American agro-ecosystems, where it causes severe crop losses. Potential control measures might include enhancement of plant defences. When attacked by herbivorous insects that oviposit on it, the plant may respond by priming direct defences, which might affect the development of future brood. Halyomorpha halys attacks numerous plant species in the invaded areas. Here, we investigated whether Vicia faba plants challenged by H. halys females can impair the development of its offspring through the activation of induced direct defences. We measured the weight and dimension of nymphs that developed on oviposition-experienced plants after 7 and 17 days from hatching. Nymphs that developed on oviposition-experienced plants weighed less compared to those that developed either on control plants or on plants solely subjected to H. halys feeding, and third instars showed shorter dimensions (tibia length). In addition, when oviposition-experienced plants were attacked by nymphs, higher and more rapid expression of two jasmonic acid-dependent genes (cysteine proteinase inhibitor gene and NAI1) was detected, possibly due to a mechanism of priming. Increased expression of the salicylic acid-responsive PR1 gene was also detected in egg-experienced plants, although the response was delayed compared to JA-dependent genes. Our results suggest that V. faba plants recognize H. halys oviposition as a warning signal and pre-activate defences against future nymphal herbivory.
KeywordsInvasive species Vicia faba Herbivore-induced plant defences Direct defence Gene expression RT-qPCR Warning signals Offspring development
This research was partially supported by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) H2020-MSCA-RISE-2015 of the European Union with the project Impact of invasive alien true bug species in native trophic webs—INVASIoN (GA 690952) and by Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Perugia Project 2015.0349.021. GR wishes to thank Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Perugia for personal funding. The authors are grateful to Lara Maistrello, Elena Costi (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia) and Giacomo Vaccari (Consorzio Fitosanitario Provinciale di Modena) for providing field-collected stink bugs, to Andrea Luchetti, Luciana Bartoli, Daniela Fortini and Cesare Dentini for maintaining the stink bug and egg parasitoid cultures and for helping in field collection, and to Luca Bonciarelli for technical assistance in the laboratory.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors have declared that no conflict of interest exists.
Research involving human participants and/or animals
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals (vertebrates) performed by any of the authors.
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