Arabidopsis thaliana Plants with Different Levels of Aliphatic- and Indolyl-Glucosinolates Affect Host Selection and Performance of Bemisia tabaci

Oshry Markovich, Dinesh Kafle, Moshe Elbaz, Sergey Malitsky, Asaph Aharoni, Alexander Schwarzkopf, Jonathan Gershenzon, Shai Morin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Generalist insects show reduced selectivity when subjected to similar, but not identical, host plant chemical signatures. Here, we produced transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana plants that over-express genes regulating the aliphatic- and indolyl- glucosinolates biosynthetic pathways with either a constitutive (CaMV 35S) or a phloem-specific promoter (AtSUC2). This allowed us to examine how exposure to high levels of aliphatic- or indolyl-glucosinolates in homogenous habitats (leaf cage apparatus containing two wild-type or two transgenic leaves) and heterogeneous habitats (leaf cage apparatus containing one wild-type and one transgenic leaf) affects host selection and performance of Bemsia tabaci, a generalist phloem-feeding insect. Data from homogenous habitats indicated that exposure to A. thaliana plants accumulating high levels of aliphatic- or indolyl-glucosinolates negatively affected the performance of both adult females and nymphs of B. tabaci. Data from heterogeneous habitats indicated that B. tabaci adult females selected for oviposition plants on which their offspring perform better (preference-performance relationship). However, the combinations of wild-type and transgenic plants in heterogeneous habitats increased the period of time until the first choice was made and led to increased movement rate on transgenic plants, and reduced fecundity on wild-type plants. Overall, our findings are consistent with the view that both performance and selectivity of B. tabaci decrease in heterogeneous habitats that contain plants with closely-related chemical signatures.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1361-1372
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Dec 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This work was supported by the Israel Science Foundation grant 848/08 and the Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD) research grant No. IS-4169-08 R.


  • Aleyrodidae
  • Aliphatic-glucosinolates
  • Bemisia tabaci
  • Hemiptera
  • Heterogeneous habitats
  • Indolyl-glucosinolates
  • Neural constraints hypothesis
  • Preference-performance relationship


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