Plant Resistance to Insect Herbivory

  • Jurgen EngelberthEmail author
Part of the Signaling and Communication in Plants book series (SIGCOMM, volume 14)


Plants are the major food source for most insects. While insects have developed various feeding strategies, plants respond by activating distinct signaling pathways resulting in the production of defensive compounds. Important regulators in this signaling system are compounds in the insect saliva, which are often modified plant molecules. The perception of these elicitor initiates signaling events like calcium release, oxidative burst, and several protein kinases, resulting in the activation of the octadecanoid signaling pathway with jasmonic acid (JA) as the major regulator of herbivore-specific defense response. JA is essential in inducing the production of toxic secondary metabolites, volatile organic compounds, and antidigestive proteins like proteinase inhibitors and polyphenol oxidases. Additionally, natural enemies of the attacking insect herbivore are attracted by volatiles release or the production of extrafloral nectar. Taken together, these measures provide a broad protection against insect herbivores. A detailed understanding of the underlying mechanisms will give us new insights into the coevolutionary processes that govern plant-insect interactions and may also lead to new approaches for the development of more ecological pest management strategies in an increasing agricultural environment.


Jasmonic Acid Insect Herbivory Glandular Trichome Lima Bean Oral Secretion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (IOS-0925615) and USDA, NIFA (Grant No.03836).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of Texas at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA

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