Ethylene functions as a suppressor of volatile production in rice

Kadis Mujiono, Tilisa Tohi, Islam S. Sobhy, Yuko Hojo, Nhan Thanh Ho, Tomonori Shinya, Ivan Galis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


We examined the role of ethylene in the production of rice (Oryza sativa) volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which act as indirect defense signals against herbivores in tritrophic interactions. Rice plants were exposed to exogenous ethylene (1 ppm) after simulated herbivory, which consisted of mechanical wounding supplemented with oral secretions (WOS) from the generalist herbivore larva Mythimna loreyi. Ethylene treatment highly suppressed VOCs in WOS-treated rice leaves, which was further corroborated by the reduced transcript levels of major VOC biosynthesis genes in ethylene-treated rice. In contrast, the accumulation of jasmonates (JA), known to control VOCs in higher plants, and transcript levels of primary JA response genes, including OsMYC2, were not largely affected by ethylene application. At the functional level, flooding is known to promote internode elongation in young rice via ethylene signaling. Consistent with the negative role of ethylene on VOC genes, the accumulation of VOCs in water-submerged rice leaves was suppressed. Furthermore, in mature rice plants, which naturally produce less volatiles, VOCs could be rescued by the application of the ethylene perception inhibitor 1-methylcyclopropene. Our data suggest that ethylene acts as an endogenous suppressor of VOCs in rice plants during development and under stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6491-6511
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of experimental botany
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Defense
  • Ethylene
  • Gene expression
  • Herbivory
  • Rice (Oryza sativa)
  • Volatile organic compounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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