Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 45, Issue 5–6, pp 502–514 | Cite as

Sorghum 3-Deoxyanthocyanidin Flavonoids Confer Resistance against Corn Leaf Aphid

  • Rupesh R. Kariyat
  • Iffa Gaffoor
  • Sampurna Sattar
  • Cullen W. Dixon
  • Nadia Frock
  • Juliet Moen
  • Consuelo M. De Moraes
  • Mark C. Mescher
  • Gary A. Thompson
  • Surinder ChopraEmail author


In this study we examined the role of sorghum flavonoids in providing resistance against corn leaf aphid (CLA) Rhopalosiphum maidis. In sorghum, accumulation of these flavonoids is regulated by a MYB transcription factor, yellow seed1 (y1). Functional y1 alleles accumulate 3-deoxyflavonoids (3-DFs) and 3—deoxyanthocyanidins (3-DAs) whereas null y1 alleles fail to accumulate these compounds. We found that significantly higher numbers of alate CLA adults colonized null y1 plants as compared to functional y1 plants. Controlled cage experiments and pairwise choice assays demonstrated that apterous aphids preferred to feed and reproduce on null y1 plants. These near-isogenic sorghum lines do not differ in their epicuticular wax content and were also devoid of any leaf trichomes. Significantly higher mortality of CLA was observed on artificial aphid diet supplemented with flavonoids obtained from functional y1 plants as compared to null y1 plants or the relevant controls. Our results demonstrate that the proximate mechanism underlying the deleterious effects on aphids is y1-regulated flavonoids which are important defense compounds against CLA.


3-deoxyanthocyanidins Aphid choice Corn leaf aphid Epicuticular wax Plant defense 



This work was supported by a USDA/NIFA award 2011-67009-30017, AES awards PEN04430 and PEN04613 to SC, and start up research funds from UTRGV for RK, and an Undergraduate Research Award, Penn State College of Ag. to Cullen Dixon. We thank Dr. Hari C. Sharma for his expertise and suggestions on this study, Thomas Eubanks for assisting with electron microscopy, Scott DiLoreto for greenhouse management, Scott Harkcom for tending sorghum nurseries at Penn State Agronomy farm, Dinakaran Elango with sorghum seed multiplication, and Kameron Wittmeyer for critical reading of this manuscript. We also wish to express our gratitude for annonymous reviewers for their constructive criticisms to help finalize this manuscript.

Supplementary material

10886_2019_1062_Fig8_ESM.png (54 kb)
Fig. S1

Effect of Flavan-4-ols on corn leaf aphid (CLA). Aphids fed on artificial diet supplemented with flavonoid compounds extracted from the developing pericarps of either Y1-rr3 seeds (green) containing flavan-4-ols or y1-ww4 seeds (purple) were observed and compared to the control treatments of either diet only (blue), or diet supplemented with 0.5% ethanol (red). The number of live aphids feeding and walking, dead aphids and live and dead nymphs were quantified 24 (A), 48 (B), and 72 (C) hr. after start of the experiment. (PNG 53 kb)

10886_2019_1062_MOESM1_ESM.tif (295 kb)
High Resolution (TIF 294 kb)
10886_2019_1062_Fig9_ESM.png (24 kb)
Fig. S2

Time course of effect of 3-DAs on corn leaf aphid (CLA) survival. Adult survival (A) and offspring production (B) was assessed using an artificial diet assay. Aphid and nymphs were counted up till four days and each treatment group had four biological replicates. Differences in aphid numbers between treatments were analyzed by Two way ANOVA with time and treatment as factors. Means that do not share a letter are significantly different after post hoc Tukey test at P < 0.05. (PNG 23 kb)

10886_2019_1062_MOESM2_ESM.tif (36 kb)
High Resolution (TIF 36 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rupesh R. Kariyat
    • 1
  • Iffa Gaffoor
    • 2
  • Sampurna Sattar
    • 2
  • Cullen W. Dixon
    • 2
  • Nadia Frock
    • 3
    • 4
  • Juliet Moen
    • 3
    • 5
  • Consuelo M. De Moraes
    • 6
  • Mark C. Mescher
    • 6
  • Gary A. Thompson
    • 2
  • Surinder Chopra
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of Texas Rio Grande ValleyEdinburgUSA
  2. 2.Plant Science DepartmentThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  3. 3.Department of EntomologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  4. 4.School of Health Sciences, Nursing DepartmentChatham UniversityPittsburghUSA
  5. 5.Grove City CollegeGrove CityUSA
  6. 6.Department of Environmental System ScienceETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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