: Laticifers are hypothesized to mediate both plant-herbivore and plant-microbe interactions. However, there is little evidence for this dual function. We investigated whether the major constituent of natural rubber, cis-1,4-polyisoprene, a phylogenetically widespread and economically important latex polymer, alters plant resistance and the root microbiome of the Russian dandelion (Taraxacum koksaghyz) under attack of a root herbivore, the larva of the May cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha). Rubber-depleted transgenic plants lost more shoot and root biomass upon herbivory than normal rubber content near-isogenic lines. Melolontha melolontha preferred to feed on artificial diet supplemented with rubber-depleted rather than normal rubber content latex. Likewise, adding purified cis-1,4-polyisoprene in ecologically relevant concentrations to diet deterred larval feeding and reduced larval weight gain. Metagenomics and metabarcoding revealed that abolishing biosynthesis of natural rubber alters the structure but not the diversity of the rhizosphere and root microbiota (ecto- and endophytes) and that these changes depended on M. melolontha damage. However, the assumption that rubber reduces microbial colonization or pathogen load is contradicted by four lines of evidence. Taken together, our data demonstrate that natural rubber biosynthesis reduces herbivory and alters the plant microbiota, which highlights the role of plant-specialized metabolites and secretory structures in shaping multitrophic interactions.

Natural rubber reduces herbivory and alters the microbiome below ground

Malacrinò, Antonino;
2023-01-01

Abstract

: Laticifers are hypothesized to mediate both plant-herbivore and plant-microbe interactions. However, there is little evidence for this dual function. We investigated whether the major constituent of natural rubber, cis-1,4-polyisoprene, a phylogenetically widespread and economically important latex polymer, alters plant resistance and the root microbiome of the Russian dandelion (Taraxacum koksaghyz) under attack of a root herbivore, the larva of the May cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha). Rubber-depleted transgenic plants lost more shoot and root biomass upon herbivory than normal rubber content near-isogenic lines. Melolontha melolontha preferred to feed on artificial diet supplemented with rubber-depleted rather than normal rubber content latex. Likewise, adding purified cis-1,4-polyisoprene in ecologically relevant concentrations to diet deterred larval feeding and reduced larval weight gain. Metagenomics and metabarcoding revealed that abolishing biosynthesis of natural rubber alters the structure but not the diversity of the rhizosphere and root microbiota (ecto- and endophytes) and that these changes depended on M. melolontha damage. However, the assumption that rubber reduces microbial colonization or pathogen load is contradicted by four lines of evidence. Taken together, our data demonstrate that natural rubber biosynthesis reduces herbivory and alters the plant microbiota, which highlights the role of plant-specialized metabolites and secretory structures in shaping multitrophic interactions.
2023
Melolontha melolontha (May cockchafer)
Taraxacum koksaghyz (Russian dandelion)
cis-1,4-polyisoprene
latex
natural rubber
plant-herbivore-microbe interactions
root herbivory
root microbiome
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12318/133126
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