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Phyllotreta striolata flea beetles utilize host plant defense compounds to create their own glucosinolate-myrosinase system

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Beran,  Franziska
Research Group Dr. F. Beran, Detoxification in Insects, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;

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Pauchet,  Yannick
Department of Entomology, Prof. D. G. Heckel, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;

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Kunert,  Grit
Department of Biochemistry, Prof. J. Gershenzon, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;

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Reichelt,  Michael
Department of Biochemistry, Prof. J. Gershenzon, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;

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Wielsch,  Natalie
Research Group Mass Spectrometry, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;

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Vogel,  Heiko
Department of Entomology, Prof. D. G. Heckel, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;

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Reinecke,  Andreas
Department of Evolutionary Neuroethology, Prof. B. S. Hansson, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;

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Svatoš,  Aleš
Research Group Mass Spectrometry, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;

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Hansson,  Bill S.
Department of Evolutionary Neuroethology, Prof. B. S. Hansson, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;

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Gershenzon,  Jonathan
Department of Biochemistry, Prof. J. Gershenzon, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;

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Heckel,  David G.
Department of Entomology, Prof. D. G. Heckel, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Beran, F., Pauchet, Y., Kunert, G., Reichelt, M., Wielsch, N., Vogel, H., et al. (2014). Phyllotreta striolata flea beetles utilize host plant defense compounds to create their own glucosinolate-myrosinase system. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(20), 7349-7354. doi:10.1073/pnas.1321781111.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0018-FFA5-8
Abstract
The ability of a specialized herbivore to overcome the chemical defense of a particular plant taxon not only makes it accessible as a food source but may also provide metabolites to be exploited for communication or chemical defense. Phyllotreta flea beetles are adapted to crucifer plants (Brassicales) that are defended by the glucosinolate-myrosinase system, the so-called "mustard-oil bomb." Tissue damage caused by insect feeding brings glucosinolates into contact with the plant enzyme myrosinase, which hydrolyzes them to form toxic compounds, such as isothiocyanates. However, we previously observed that Phyllotreta striolata beetles themselves produce volatile glucosinolate hydrolysis products. Here, we show that P. striolata adults selectively accumulate glucosinolates from their food plants to up to 1.75% of their body weight and express their own myrosinase. By combining proteomics and transcriptomics, a gene responsible for myrosinase activity in P. striolata was identified. The major substrates of the heterologously expressed myrosinase were aliphatic glucosinolates, which were hydrolyzed with at least fourfold higher efficiency than aromatic and indolic glucosinolates, and β-O-glucosides. The identified beetle myrosinase belongs to the glycoside hydrolase family 1 and has up to 76% sequence similarity to other β-glucosidases. Phylogenetic analyses suggest species-specific diversification of this gene family in insects and an independent evolution of the beetle myrosinase from other insect β-glucosidases.