A fungal endophyte helps plants to tolerate root herbivory through changes in gibberellin and jasmonate signaling.
- Plant–microbe mutualisms can improve plant defense, but the impact of root endophytes on below-ground herbivore interactions remains unknown. We investigated the effects of the root endophyte Piriformospora indica on interactions between rice (Oryza sativa) plants and its root herbivore rice water weevil (RWW; Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus), and how plant jasmonic acid (JA) and GA regulate this tripartite interaction.
- Glasshouse experiments with wild-type rice and coi1-18 and Eui1-OX mutants combined with nutrient, jasmonate and gene expression analyses were used to test: whether RWW adult herbivory above ground influences subsequent damage caused by larval herbivory below ground; whether P. indica protects plants against RWW; and whether GA and JA signaling mediate these interactions.
- The endophyte induced plant tolerance to root herbivory. RWW adults and larvae acted synergistically via JA signaling to reduce root growth, while endophyte-elicited GA biosynthesis suppressed the herbivore-induced JA in roots and recovered plant growth.
- Our study shows for the first time the impact of a root endophyte on plant defense against below-ground herbivores, adds to growing evidence that induced tolerance may be an important root defense, and implicates GA as a signal component of inducible plant tolerance against biotic stress.
Cosme, M; Lu, J.; Erb, M.; Stout, M.; Franken, P.; Wurst, S.; 2016. A fungal endophyte helps plants to tolerate root herbivory through changes in gibberellin and jasmonate signaling. The New Phytologist 211, 1065–1076.