Chemical signalling between insects and plants for the development of sustainable pest management
Prof. John Pickett Rothamsted Research Sponsored by GARLAND SCIENCE
Food security has recently reappeared as an international priority and, as a consequence, we again look to GM as a potential major intervention for reducing losses by pests, diseases and weeds, even in Europe. Molecular genetics, however, has moved rapidly and instead of having to rely on the expression only of bioactive proteins, we can now realistically manipulate the biosynthesis of small lipophilic molecules (SLMs) that can more effectively, but potentially with intrinsically more benign mechanisms, provide the needed protection for our crops and even livestock. Perhaps, therefore, it is time, in planning the new generation of GMOs for delivery of pest control, to target the natural SLMs that, acting by non-toxic modes of action, affect in more sophisticated ways behavioural and developmental processes in the pest organisms. These will be exemplified in this talk as insect pheromones and other semiochemicals, i.e. those chemicals that affect development or behaviour of organisms generally. However, these examples demonstrate where a further development is necessary. This will involve “switching on” the genes for the biosynthesis of the semiochemicals by means of another set of SLMs that act as plant activators. Insect control will be the priority because not only are these organisms, as we are, animals and therefore require more selective agents in their control, but are globally the main long term threat, directly or indirectly, to crop and livestock production. However, a new opportunity in weed control currently being rapidly taken up in sub-Saharan Africa will also be discussed in the context of worldwide weed problems. Key publications M.H. Beale, M.A. Birkett, T.J. Bruce, K. Chamberlain, L.M. Field, A.K. Huttly, J.L. Martin, R. Parker, A.L. Phillips, J.A. Pickett, I.M. Prosser, P.R. Shewry, L.E. Smart, L.J. Wadhams, C.M. Woodcock and Y. Zhang (2006) Aphid alarm pheromone produced by transgenic plants affects aphid and parasitoid behaviour. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 103, 10509-10513. T.J.A. Bruce and J.A. Pickett (2007) Plant defence signalling induced by biotic attacks. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 10, 387-392. M.A. Birkett, C.A.M. Campbell, K. Chamberlain, E. Guerrieri, A.J. Hick, J.L. Martin, M. Matthes, J.A. Napier, J. Pettersson, J.A. Pickett, G.M. Poppy, E.M. Pow, B.J. Pye, L.E. Smart, G.H. Wadhams, L.J. Wadhams and C.M. Woodcock (2000) New roles for cis-jasmone as an insect semiochemical and in plant defense. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 97, 9329-9334. T.J.A. Bruce, M.C. Matthes, K. Chamberlain, C.M. Woodcock, A. Mohib, B. Webster. L.E. Smart, M.A. Birkett, J.A. Pickett and J.A. Napier (2008) cis-Jasmone induces Arabidopsis genes that affect the chemical ecology of multitrophic interactions with aphids and their parasitoids. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 105, 4553-4558. S.M. Cook, Z.R. Khan and J.A. Pickett (2007) The use of push-pull strategies in integrated pest management. Annual Review of Entomology 52, 375-400. A. Hassanali, H. Herren, Z.R. Khan, J.A. Pickett and C.M. Woodcock (2008) Integrated pest management: the push-pull approach for controlling insect pests and weeds of cereals, and its potential for other agricultural systems including animal husbandry. Integrated Pest Management. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London B 363, 611-621. Web site: http://www.rothamsted.bbsrc.ac.uk/
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