Specificity of induced resistance in the tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum

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Specificity in the induced responses of tomato foliage to arthropod herbivores was investigated. We distinguished between two aspects of specificity: specificity of effect (the range of organisms affected by a given induced response), and specificity of elicitation (ability of the plant to generate distinct chemical responses to different damage types). Specificity of effect was investigated by examining the effect of restricted feeding by Helicoverpa zea on the resistance of tomato plants to an aphid species (Macrosiphum euphorbiae), a mite species (Tetranychus urticae), a noctuid species (Spodoptera exigua), and to a phytopathogen, Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato. Prior H. zea feeding was found to increase the resistance of tomato plants to all four organisms. Specificity in elicitation was investigated by examining the effect of aphid feeding on the activities of four defense-related proteins and on the suitability of foliage for S. exigua. Aphid feeding was found to induce peroxidase and lipoxygenase activities but not polyphenol oxidase and proteinase inhibitor activities; this response is distinct from the response to H. zea feeding, which induces polyphenol oxidase and proteinase inhibitors but not peroxidase. Leaflets which had been fed upon by aphids were better sources of food for S. exigua than were leaflets which had not been fed upon by aphids. Studies of both these aspects of specificity are needed to understand the way in which plants coordinate and integrate induced responses against insects with other physiological processes.

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