Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions
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The two-spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae is one of the most significant mite pests in agriculture, feeding on more than 1,100 plant hosts, including model plants Arabidopsis thaliana and tomato, Solanum lycopersicum. Here, we describe timecourse tomato transcriptional responses to spider mite feeding and compare them with Arabidopsis in order to determine conserved and divergent defense responses to this pest. To refine the involvement of jasmonic acid (JA) in mite-induced responses and to improve tomato Gene Ontology annotations, we analyzed transcriptional changes in the tomato JA-signaling mutant defenseless1 (def-1) upon JA treatment and spider mite herbivory. Overlay of differentially expressed genes (DEG) identified in def-1 onto those from the timecourse experiment established that JA controls expression of the majority of genes differentially regulated by herbivory. Comparison of defense responses between tomato and Arabidopsis highlighted 96 orthologous genes (of 2,133 DEG) that were recruited for defense against spider mites in both species. These genes, involved in biosynthesis of JA, phenylpropanoids, flavonoids, and terpenoids, represent the conserved core of induced defenses. The remaining tomato DEG support the establishment of tomato-specific defenses, indicating profound divergence of spider mite-induced responses between tomato and Arabidopsis.