Arthropod-Plant Interactions

, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp 767–783 | Cite as

Physical and metabolic consequences of Hessian fly infestation are more severe on nonhost Brachypodium distachyon than on host-plant resistant wheat

  • Andrea M. Hargarten
  • Jill A. Nemacheck
  • Subhashree Subramanyam
  • Xiangye Xiao
  • Brandon J. Schemerhorn
  • Christie E. Williams
Original Paper


Physical and metabolic changes were compared between the model grass, Brachypodium distachyon, and the Hessian fly host plant, wheat, after infestation. B. distachyon was determined to be a nonhost, where 13 lines were resistant to all infestations tested, yet it responded with characteristics of both host-plant resistant wheat and susceptible wheat. Similar to resistant wheat, B. distachyon completed development with no seed yield penalty imposed by Hessian fly infestation. Wheat and B. distachyon exhibited some degree of leaf stunting, but only of the leaves that were actively growing while the larvae were attempting to feed. Since resistant wheat killed all larvae within 3–5 days after egg hatch, only the lower leaves were stunted. In compensation for leaf stunting, infested resistant wheat underwent precocious initiation and accelerated growth of the upper leaves once the larvae had died. In contrast, larvae survived, without growing, on B. distachyon for much longer, some up to 46 days after egg hatch when the plant was senescing; consequently, all leaves of B. distachyon exhibited stunting, but to a lesser degree than leaves of susceptible wheat where the insects complete their life cycle. Transcript profiling of eight key genes, known to respond to Hessian fly in either resistant or susceptible wheat, demonstrated that B. distachyon exhibited responses intermediate between the compatible and incompatible interactions of wheat as well as both type I and type II nonhost resistance.


Wheat B. distachyon Hessian fly Nonhost resistance to insects Resource reallocation Precocious leaf initiation Plastochron Phyllotaxy Transcript profiling 



This work was a joint contribution by the USDA Agricultural Research Service Crop Production and Pest Control Research Unit and Purdue University. Research was supported by USDA-CRIS Number 3602-22000-018-D. The authors wish to thank Sue Cambron (USDA-ARS) for maintaining Hessian fly stocks. Mention of a commercial or a proprietary product does not constitute endorsement or recommendation for its use by the USDA.

Supplementary material

11829_2017_9542_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (110 kb)
Supplementary material 1 Hypersensitive response on B. distachyon. Ten DAH, seedlings were dissected to expose hypersensitive response at the crown where Biotype L larvae were attempting to feed. Scale bar represents 1 mm (PDF 110 kb)
11829_2017_9542_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (90 kb)
Supplementary material 2 Larval size on B. distachyon. Larvae were measured as in Fig. 1. Solid line represents the average size of larvae on H9-Iris wheat measured 8 DAH. Thin dashed lines above and below the solid line represent the largest and smallest larvae on H9-Iris. Thick dashed line represents the smallest larva measured on Newton wheat. 20% of larvae residing on B. distachyon were larger than the largest on H9-Iris wheat. Graphs were made in Microsoft Excel 2010 (PDF 90 kb)
11829_2017_9542_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (240 kb)
Supplementary material 3 Hessian fly infestation delayed B. distachyon senescence. In each photograph, two uninfested control pots are on the left and two infested pots are on the right. Each pot contains three plants (PDF 239 kb)
11829_2017_9542_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (13 kb)
Supplementary material 4 (PDF 12 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht (outside the USA) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea M. Hargarten
    • 1
  • Jill A. Nemacheck
    • 1
  • Subhashree Subramanyam
    • 2
  • Xiangye Xiao
    • 2
  • Brandon J. Schemerhorn
    • 1
    • 3
  • Christie E. Williams
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.USDA-ARS Crop Production and Pest Control Research UnitWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.Department of AgronomyPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  3. 3.Department of EntomologyPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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