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E-GEOD-57301 - A natural expression variant reveals a novel mechanism of insect resistance in boreal forest trees
Released on 6 May 2014, last updated on 3 June 2014
We report the discovery of a beta-glucosidase gene (Pgβglu-1) whose expression underpins natural resistance to a major forest pest, the spruce budworm (SBW) in white spruce (Picea glauca (Voss.) Moench). We performed a microarray experiment to compare resistant (R) and non-resistant (N-R) trees. Pgβglu-1 transcripts levels uniquely were up to 1000 times higher in phenotypically resistant trees and correlated with accumulation of acetophenones compounds that reduce SBW development. These resistance traits were heritable, temporally correlated with the emergence of the most damaging larval stages and were highly variable in the natural population across a large geographic area. The recombinant gene product specifically catalyzed the release of biologically active acetophenones from their glucoside precursors. SBW outbreaks have become more frequent and intense; therefore, the phenotypic diversity resulting from variation in Pgβglu-1 expression may be a key for the adaptability of spruce populations. Transcriptome profiling was carried out with needles from 7 resistant and 7 non-resistant trees (harvested on June 17th, 2010), and 3 samples per tree (n=42) with a custom microarray developed for spruce species and comprising oligonucleotide probes for 23,853 unique P. glauca gene sequences (Raherison et al., 2012).
transcription profiling by array
Eric Beauce, Isabelle Giguere, John MacKay, Nathalie Delvas