Botany and Plant Pathology Seminar Series
Speaker: Dr. Christie Williams - USDA/ARS, Adjunct Professor in Entomology - Purdue University
Topic: Less is more: Wheat defense against the Hessian fly
When: Wednesday, September 05, 2012 at 3:30 pm in WSLR 116

Compared to other gall-forming insects, the Hessian fly is a minimalist. Not only are the larvae tiny, but their galls are rudimentary; larvae induce leaf stunting in the host plant for protection rather than orchestrating the formation of a protective gall structure. However, the dramatic reprogramming of host plant gene expression and physiology, by even a single virulent larva during a compatible interaction, is anything but trivial. Larva-induced silencing of mechanisms that maintain the integrity of wheat epidermal cells, along with manipulation of amino acid production contributes to efficient delivery of nutrients directly to the larvae. And as larval control of plant processes spreads systemically when susceptibility is induced, even genetically avirulent larvae are able to survive. The defense response of resistant host wheat plants is understated as well; a gene-for-gene recognition event triggers plant resistance so efficient and localized that no yield penalty is imposed on seed production. Consequences of incompatible interactions for the insect include complete destruction of the interior surface of the midgut lumen and inability to acquire nutrients, leading to a slow death. Characterization of processes affected by compatible and incompatible interactions will be presented via videos, electron micrographs, microarray and qPCR data, proteomics and gas chromatography.



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