Cereal Research Communications

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 506–513 | Cite as

The selective induction of the phenylalanine ammonia-lyase pathway in the resistance response of wheat to the russian wheat aphid

  • J. M. BernerEmail author
  • A. J. van dar Westhuizen


The Russian wheat aphid (RWA), Diuraphis noxia (Mordvilko), is notorious for causing severe yield losses in many of the wheat producing areas of the world. The phenylpropanoid pathway is involved in many plant defence mechanisms. Phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) is a key enzyme leading to biosynthesis of phenolic acids, some of which are involved in plant defence mechanisms. The effect of RWA infestation on PAL activity and phenolic acid composition was studied in resistant (Tugela DN) and susceptible (Tugela) wheat cultivars. PAL activity was selectively induced in the infested resistant wheat. The increase in PAL activity was reflected in the selective increase in certain phenolic acid concentrations. The phenolic acids that were selectively induced in resistant wheat upon RWA infestation were identified using the authentic phenolic acids p-hydroxybenzoic acid, gallic acid, resorcylic acid, gentisic acid, caffeic acid, p-hydroxyphenylacetic acid, and ferulic acid. The induced levels of these phenolic acids corresponded to the peak PAL activities. It is evident that the phenylpropanoid pathway contributes to the resistance of wheat to the RWA.


Diuraphis noxia Russian wheat aphid wheat lignification phenolic compounds phenylalanine ammonia-lyase 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Baiocchi, E., Marengo, E., Saini, G., Roggero, M.A., Giacosa, D. 1993. Reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography and chemometrics, a combined investigation tool for complex phytochemical problems. J. of Chrom. 644:259–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bellés, J.M., Garro, R., Fayos, J., Navarro, P., Primo, J., Conejero, V. 1999. Gentisic acid as a pathogen-inducible signal, additional to salicylic acid for activation of plant defenses in tomato. Mol. Plant-Microbe Interact. 12:227–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bellés, J.M., Garro, R., Vicente Pallás, V., Fayos, J., Rodrigo, I., Conejero, V. 2006. Accumulation of gentisic acid as associated with systemic infections but not with the hypersensitive response in plant-pathogen interactions. Planta 223:500–511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bennett, R.N., Wallsgrove, R.M. 1994. Secondary metabolites in plant defence mechanisms. New Phytol. 127:617–633.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chaman, M.E., Copaja, S.V., Argandona, V.H. 2003. Relationship between salicylic acid content, phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) activity, and resistance of barley to aphid infestation. J. Agri. Food Chem. 51:2227–2231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cowan, M.M. 1999. Plant products as antimicrobial agents. Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 12:564–582.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Du Toit, F. 1989. Inheritance of resistance in two Triticum aestivum lines to Russian wheat aphid (Homo:aphididae). J. Econ. Entomol. 82:1251–1253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Du Toit, F., Walters, M.C. 1984. Damage assessment and economic threshold values for chemical control of the Russian wheat aphid, Diuraphis noxia (Mordvilko), on winter wheat. In: Walters, M.C. (ed.), Progress in the Russian wheat aphid (Diuraphis noxia Mord.) research in the Republic of South Africa. Proceedings of a meeting of the Russian wheat aphid task held at the University of the Orange Free State, Bloemfontein, RSA, 5–6 May 1984. Tech. Commun. 191:58–62.Google Scholar
  9. Geissman, T.A. 1963. Flavonoid compounds, tannins, lignins and related compounds. In: Florkin, M., Stotz, E.H. (eds), Pyrrole Pigments, Isoprenoid Compounds and Phenolic Constituents. Elsevier, New York, N.Y. 9:265.Google Scholar
  10. Haley, S.D., Peairs, F.B., Walker C.B., Rudolph J.B., Randolph T.L. 2004. Occurrence of a new Russian wheat aphid biotype in Colorado. Crop Sci. 44:1589–1592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Havlícková, H., Cvikrová, M., Eder, J. 1996. Phenolic acids in wheat cultivars in relation to plant suitability for and response to cereal aphids. Zeitschrift für Pflanzenkrankheiten und Pflanzenschutz 103:535–542.Google Scholar
  12. Ikegawa, T., Mayama, S., Nakayashiki, H., Kato, H. 1996. Accumulation of diferulic acid during the hypersensitive response of oat leaves to Puccinia coronata f. sp. avenae and its role in resistance of oat tissue to cell wall degrading enzymes. Physiol. Mol. Plant Pathol. 48:245–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Jones, D.H. 1984. Phenylalanine ammonia-lyase: Regulation of its induction, and its role in plant development. Phytochem. 23:1349–1359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kovalev, O.V., Poprawski, T.J., Stekolshchikov, A.V., Vereshchagina, A.B., Gandrabur, S.A. 1991. Diuraphis Aizenberg (Hom. Aphididae); Key apterous viviparous females, and review of Russian literature on the natural history of Diuraphis noxia (Kurdjumov, 1913). J. Appl. Entom. 112:425–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kruger, W.M., Carver, T.L.W., Zeyen, R.J. 2002. Effects of inhibiting phenolic biosynthesis on penetration resistance of barley isolines containing seven powdery mildew resistance genes or alleles. Physiol. Mol. Plant Pathol. 61:41–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Leszczynski, B., Warchol, J., Niraz, S. 1985. The influence of phenolic compounds on the preference of winter wheat cultivars by cereal aphids. Ins. Sci. Apopl. 6:157–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Loake, G., Grant, M. 2007. Salicylic acid in plant defence — the players and protagonists. Curr. Opin. Plant Biol. 10:466–472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lozovaya, V.V., Lygin, A.V., Li, S., Hartman, G.L., Widholm, J.M. 2004. Biochemical response of soybean roots to Fusarium solani f. sp. glycines infection. Crop Sci. Soc. of Amer. 44:819–826.Google Scholar
  19. Marasas, C.N., 1999. Socio-economic impact of the Russian wheat aphid integrated control program. PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, South Africa.Google Scholar
  20. Misaghi, I.J. 1982. Alterations in phenol metabolism. In: Misaghi, I.J. (ed.), Physiology and Biochemistry of Plant-pathogen Interactions. Plenum Press, New York, USA. pp. 287–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mohase, L., Van der Westhuizen, A.J. 2002. Salicylic acid is involved in the resistance response in the Russian wheat aphid-wheat interaction. J. Plant Physiol. 159:585–590.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Nicholson, R.L., Hammerschmidt, R. 1992. Phenolic compounds and their role in disease resistance. Ann. Rev. Phytopathol. 30:369–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Shadle, G.L., Wesley, S.V., Korth, K.L., Chen, F., Lamb, C., Dixon, R.A. 2003. Phenylpropanoid compounds and disease resistance in transgenic tobacco with altered expression of L-phenylalanine ammonia-lyase. Phytochem. 64:153–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Smith-Becker, J., Marios, E., Huguet, E.J., Midland, S.L., Sims, J.J., Keen, N.T. 1998. Accumulation of salicylic acid and 4-hydroxybenzoic acid in phloem fluids of cucumber during systemic acquired resistance is preceded by a transient increase in phenylalanine ammonia-lyase activity in petioles and stems. Plant Physiol. 116:231–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Southerton, S.G., Deverall, B.J. 1990. Changes in phenolic acid levels in wheat leaves expressing resistance to Puccina recondita f. sp. tritici. Physiol. Mol. Plant. Pathol. 37:437–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Todd, G.W., Getahun, A., Cress, D.D. 1971. Resistance in barley to the greenbug Schizaphis graminum. Toxicity of phenolic and flavonoid compounds and related substances. Ann. Ent. Soc. Amer. 64:718–722.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Tolmay, V.L., Lindeque, R.C, Prinsloo, G.J. 2007. Preliminary evidence of a resistance-breaking biotype of the Russian wheat aphid Diuraphis noxia (Kurdjumov) (Homoptera: Aphididae), in South Africa. Afr. Entomol. 15:228–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Van der Westhuizen, A.J., Pretorius, Z. 1995. Biochemical and physiological responses of resistant and susceptible wheat to Russian wheat aphid infestations. Cer. Res. Commun. 23:305–313.Google Scholar
  29. Wei, H., Zhikuan, J., Qingfang, H. 2007. Effects of herbivore stress by Aphis medicaginis Koch on the malondialdehyde contents and the activities of protective enzymes in different alfalfa varieties. Acta Eco. Sinica. 27:2177–2183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wuyts, G., Lognay, R., Swennen, De Waele, D. 2007. Nematode infection and reproduction in transgenic and mutant Arabidopsis and tobacco with an altered phenylpropanoid metabolism. J. Exp. Bot. 57:2825–2835.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environmental Sciences and Development, Faculty of Natural SciencesNorth-West UniversityPotchefstroomSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Plant Sciences, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural SciencesUniversity of the Free StateBloemfonteinSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations