Arthropod-Plant Interactions

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 507–518 | Cite as

Rapid induced resistance of silver birch affects both innate immunity and performance of gypsy moths: the role of plant chemical defenses

  • Vyacheslav V. Martemyanov
  • Ivan M. Dubovskiy
  • Irina A. Belousova
  • Sergey V. Pavlushin
  • Dmitry V. Domrachev
  • Markus J. Rantala
  • Juha-Pekka Salminen
  • Stanislav A. Bakhvalov
  • Victor V. Glupov
Original Paper


In this study we tested the effects of rapid induced resistance of the silver birch, Betula pendula, on the performance and immune defense of the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar. We also measured the effects of defoliation on the concentrations of plant secondary metabolites, particularly on phenolics and terpenoids. It was found that severe natural defoliation (by moth larvae) of silver birch led to an increase in lipophilic flavonoids on the leaf surface. The concentration of some simple phenolics and monoterpenes (linalool and geraniol) also increased, while that of several glycosides of quercetin decreased. The female pupal weights and survival rates of moths decreased, and larval development time increased, when the insects fed on defoliated trees. However, the feeding of caterpillars with the leaves of defoliated trees led to an increase in lysozyme-like activity in their hemolymph, with an increase in their ability to encapsulate potential parasites. Our data show that the silver birch deploys a rapid chemical defense against gypsy moth larvae. We suggest that lipophilic flavonoids are important compounds in the direct silver birch defense against L. dispar caterpillars. The increased strength of immune defense of insects exposed to trees that had deployed a rapid induced resistance may be an adaptation of the herbivores to resist the rising density of parasites when host population density is high.


Plant–insect interaction Betula pendula Lymantria dispar Defoliation Rapid induced resistance Secondary compounds 



We thank Alexey Tkachev for help in phytochemical assay and for his comments on the earlier version of the manuscript and thank Derek Roff and Will Sillitoe for the language correction. We also thank Ekaterina Chertkova for her assistance in the study of insect immunecometens, and Elena Shatalova, Elena Bojarischeva, and Ekatirina Grizanova for their help in field work. The study was financially supported by a Kone Foundation grant for V. Martemyanov, by a grant from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (grant Nr 07-04-00870), and by a grant of the President of the Russian Federation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vyacheslav V. Martemyanov
    • 1
    • 3
  • Ivan M. Dubovskiy
    • 1
  • Irina A. Belousova
    • 1
  • Sergey V. Pavlushin
    • 1
  • Dmitry V. Domrachev
    • 2
  • Markus J. Rantala
    • 3
  • Juha-Pekka Salminen
    • 4
  • Stanislav A. Bakhvalov
    • 1
  • Victor V. Glupov
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Insect PathologyInstitute of Systematics and Ecology of Animals SB RASNovosibirskRussia
  2. 2.Laboratory of Terpene CompoundsVorozhtsov Novosibirsk Institute of Organic Chemistry SB RASNovosibirskRussia
  3. 3.Section of Ecology, Department of BiologyUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  4. 4.Laboratory of Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Department of ChemistryUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland

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