Phytohormone-dependent plant defense signaling orchestrated by oral bacteria of the herbivore Spodoptera litura

Yukiyo Yamasaki, Hiroka Sumioka, Mayu Takiguchi, Takuya Uemura, Yuka Kihara, Tomonori Shinya, Ivan Galis, Gen ichiro Arimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


A vast array of herbivorous arthropods live with symbiotic microorganisms. However, little is known about the nature and functional mechanism of bacterial effects on plant defense responses towards herbivores. We explored the role of microbes present in extracts of oral secretion (OS) isolated from larvae of Spodoptera litura, a generalist herbivore, in phytohormone signaling-dependent defense responses in Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis). In response to mechanical damage (MD) with application of bacteria-free OS (OS) prepared by sterilization or filtration of OS, Arabidopsis leaves exhibited enhanced de novo synthesis of oxylipins, and induction of transcript abundance of the responsible genes, in comparison to those in leaves with MD + nonsterilized OS (OS+), indicating that OS bacteria serve as suppressors of these genes. By contrast, de novo synthesis/signaling of salicylic acid and signaling of abscisic acid were enhanced by OS bacteria. These signaling networks were cross-regulated by each other. Meta-analysis of OS bacteria identified 70 bacterial strains. Among them was Staphylococcus epidermidis, an anaerobic staphylococcus that was shown to contribute to the suppression/manipulation of phytohormone-dependent plant defense signaling. The presence of OS bacteria was consequently beneficial for S. litura larvae hosted by Brassicaceae.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2029-2038
Number of pages10
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • Arabidopsis
  • Spodoptera
  • bacteria
  • defense response
  • oral secretions
  • phytohormone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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