Phaseolus vulgaris L. cv. 'Pinto' bean is a local lesion host for the plant pathogen Southern bean mosaic virus (SBMV) and its vector is the Mexican bean beetle, Epilachna varivestis Mulsant. The objective of this study was to determine if prior feeding by the beetle would affect 'Pinto' bean's resistance to SBMV and determine if ribonuclease (RNase), a major constituent of beetle regurgitant, mediated the plant's response to the virus. 'Pinto' bean plants fed upon by beetles had increased resistance to plant viruses compared to non-wounded or mechanically wounded and buffer-treated plants. Plants that were mechanically wounded and treated with RNase had increased resistance to plant viruses that was equal to plants fed upon by adult beetles. The induction of plant pathogen defenses could be a good adaptation for the plant in the presence of a beetle and pathogen threat. This evidence suggests that RNase activity in the beetle regurgitant could function as an insect-derived elicitor of plant resistance to viruses.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics