Effects of Fertilization and Fungal and Insect Attack on Systemic Protein Defenses of Austrian Pine
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Despite their economic and ecological importance, defense responses of conifers to pests are little understood. In a 3-year experiment, we monitored systemic fungal (Diplodia pinea)- and insect (Neodiprion sertifer)-induced defense protein activities and total soluble proteins in needles and phloem of Austrian pine (Pinus nigra) across a soil fertility gradient. In both years, total soluble protein content of foliage and phloem declined with increasing fertility across induction treatments, while defensive protein activities generally increased with increasing fertility. In 2005, total soluble protein content in branch phloem was increased by fungal inoculation of the stem. Peroxidase activity was suppressed in needles by insect defoliation in 2006, while polyphenol oxidase activity was systemically induced in branch phloem by insect attack in 2005. Trypsin inhibitor activities in phloem did not respond to any induction or fertility treatment. Nutritive quality of Austrian pine tissue declined with increasing fertility, while several protein-based defenses simultaneously increased.
KeywordsPinus nigra Diplodia pinea Neodiprion sertifer Induction
We thank Eusondia Arnett, Bryant Chambers, Alejandro Chiriboga, Ilka Gomez, Diane Hartzler, Anuprit Kaur, Cherissa Rainey, Matt Solensky, Duan Wang, and Justin Whitehill for the assistance in the field and in the laboratory and Kurtz Bros for the nursery supplies. The comments by two anonymous reviewers improved the manuscript. Funding was provided by the USDA National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program No. 2004-35302-14667 and by the State and Federal funds appropriated to the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, the Ohio State University. These experiments comply with the laws of the USA.
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