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Survey of Sensitivity to Fatty Acid-Amino Acid Conjugates in the Solanaceae


Plants perceive insect herbivores via a sophisticated surveillance system that detects a range of alarm signals, including herbivore-associated molecular patterns (HAMPs). Fatty acid-amino acid conjugates (FACs) are HAMPs present in oral secretions (OS) of lepidopteran larvae that induce defense responses in many plant species. In contrast to eggplant (Solanum melongena), tomato (S. lycopersicum) does not respond to FACs present in OS from Manduca sexta (Lepidoptera). Since both plants are found in the same genus, we tested whether loss of sensitivity to FACs in tomato may be a domestication effect. Using highly sensitive MAP kinase (MAPK) phosphorylation assays, we demonstrate that four wild tomato species and the closely related potato (S. tuberosum) do not respond to the FACs N-linolenoyl-L-glutamine and N-linolenoyl-L-glutamic acid, excluding a domestication effect. Among other genera within the Solanaceae, we found that bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) is responsive to FACs, while there is a differential responsiveness to FACs among tobacco (Nicotiana) species, ranging from strong responsiveness in N. benthamiana to no responsiveness in N. knightiana. The Petunia lineage is one of the oldest lineages within the Solanaceae and P. hybrida was responsive to FACs. Collectively, we demonstrate that plant responsiveness to FACs does not follow simple phylogenetic relationships in the family Solanaceae. Instead, sensitivity to FACs is a dynamic ancestral trait present in monocots and eudicots that was repeatedly lost during the evolution of Solanaceae species. Although tomato is insensitive to FACs, we found that other unidentified factors in M. sexta OS induce defenses in tomato.

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The seeds of wild tomato species were developed by and/or obtained from the UC Davis/C.M. Rick Tomato Genetics Resource Center and maintained by the Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

LG was supported by funds from the South Carolina Association for Minority Participation (SCAMP), a Trio-McNair fellowship, a Magellan Guarantee award from the University of SC VP for Research, and from the South Carolina Honors College (SCHC); AA was supported by supplemental REU funding (to NSF-IOS-0745545), funds from SCHC, a Magellan grant, and the Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Fellowship; AMC was supported by the SCHC; KL was supported by funds from SCAMP and a Trio-McNair fellowship; BW was supported by funds from SCAMP; JWS, CJB, SRH, and CH were supported by National Science Foundation grant IOS-0745545 and by funds from the College of Arts and Sciences; EAS acknowledges support from USDA NIFA-AFRI (award #t 2018-67013-28125).

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Correspondence to Johannes W. Stratmann.

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Grissett, L., Ali, A., Coble, AM. et al. Survey of Sensitivity to Fatty Acid-Amino Acid Conjugates in the Solanaceae. J Chem Ecol 46, 330–343 (2020).

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