Tree Genetics & Genomes

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 459–474 | Cite as

Local and systemic transcriptome responses to herbivory and jasmonic acid in Populus

  • Benjamin A. Babst
  • Andreas Sjödin
  • Stefan Jansson
  • Colin M. Orians
Original Paper


We used DNA microarrays to examine local and systemic transcriptional responses to herbivory by gypsy moth larvae (GM) and exogenous jasmonic acid (JAtrt) in leaves of Populus nigra L. to identify candidate signaling and defense genes and also to examine primary metabolism, as might relate to tolerance of damage. GM and JAtrt altered expression of over 800 genes, most of which have putative roles in defense signaling, secondary metabolism, and primary metabolism. Additionally, numerous uncharacterized genes responded to herbivory, providing a rich resource for future studies. There was limited overlap (14%) between the responses to GM and JAtrt. GM did, however, result in strong upregulation of genes involved not only in JA biosynthesis but also abscisic acid biosynthesis and other signaling pathways. GM induced known resistance transcripts, including polyphenolic biosynthetic genes, proteinase inhibitors, and amino acid deaminases. According to GOStats pathway level analysis, GM altered primary metabolism, including aromatic amino acid biosynthesis, fatty acid β-oxidation, and carbohydrate and organic acid metabolism. These alterations may be related to increased demands for substrate for secondary metabolites or may serve a tolerance-related role. Responses were more intense locally in treated leaves than in untreated (systemic) leaves and systemic responses were mostly a subset of the genes induced locally. A stronger local response might be needed to cope with localized stresses and wound healing. Since Populus in general and this clone in particular are known for their systemic induced resistance, genes induced both locally and systemically may be the highest quality candidates for resistance.


Populus Herbivory Jasmonic acid Systemic induction Tolerance Induced resistance 



The authors would like to thank the Biology Department at Brookhaven National Laboratory for use of the greenhouse. This research was funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (to CMO) and an NSF DDIG grant IBN-0408078 (to BAB), Swedish Research Council (to SJ), the Arabis Fund (Frances Chew), and the Tufts University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Student Council, and Department of Biology (BAB). We thank Dr. John Tanner of USDA-APHIS for supplying gypsy moth eggs and Dr. Kenneth Raffa of the University of Wisconsin for supplying cuttings of the P. nigra clone.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11295_2009_200_MOESM1_ESM.xls (662 kb)
S1 Table 1 Full gene lists (XLS 662 kb)
11295_2009_200_MOESM2_ESM.xls (35 kb)
S2 Table 2 Significantly changed Gene Ontology categories (XLS 35.0 kb)
11295_2009_200_MOESM3_ESM.xls (54 kb)
S3 Table 3 Transcription factor and protein kinase lists (XLS 53.5 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin A. Babst
    • 1
  • Andreas Sjödin
    • 3
    • 4
  • Stefan Jansson
    • 3
  • Colin M. Orians
    • 2
  1. 1.Warnell School of Forestry and Natural ResourcesThe University of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyTufts UniversityMedfordUSA
  3. 3.Umeå Plant Science Centre, Department of Plant PhysiologyUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  4. 4.CBRN Defence and SecurityFOI—Swedish Defence Research AgencyUmeåSweden

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