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© 2015 American Society of Plant Biologists. All rights reserved. Induced defenses play a key role in plant resistance against leaf feeders. However, very little is known about the signals that are involved in defending plants against root feeders and how they are influenced by abiotic factors. We investigated these aspects for the interaction between rice (Oryza sativa) and two root-feeding insects: the generalist cucumber beetle (Diabrotica balteata) and the more specialized rice water weevil (Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus). Rice plants responded to root attack by increasing the production of jasmonic acid (JA) and abscisic acid, whereas in contrast to in herbivore-attacked leaves, salicylic acid and ethylene levels remained unchanged. The JA response was decoupled from flooding and remained constant over different soil moisture levels. Exogenous application of methyl JA to the roots markedly decreased the performance of both root herbivores, whereas abscisic acid and the ethylene precursor 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid did not have any effect. JA-deficient antisense 13-lipoxygenase (asLOX) and mutant allene oxide cyclase hebiba plants lost more root biomass under attack from both root herbivores. Surprisingly, herbivore weight gain was decreased markedly in asLOX but not hebiba mutant plants, despite the higher root biomass removal. This effect was correlated with a herbivore-induced reduction of sucrose pools in asLOX roots. Taken together, our experiments show that jasmonates are induced signals that protect rice roots from herbivores under varying abiotic conditions and that boosting jasmonate responses can strongly enhance rice resistance against root pests. Furthermore, we show that a rice 13-lipoxygenase regulates root primary metabolites and specifically improves root herbivore growth.

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Plant Physiology

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