Entomology, Department of


Date of this Version



Basu, S., Varsani, S., Louis, J. 2017. Altering plant defenses: Herbivore-associated molecular patterns and effector arsenal of chewing herbivores. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. DOI: 10.1094/MPMI-07-17-0183-FI.


Open Access.


Chewing herbivores, such as caterpillars and beetles, while feeding on the host plant, cause extensive tissue damage and release a wide array of cues to alter plant defenses. Consequently, the cues can have both beneficial and detrimental impacts on the chewing herbivores. Herbivore-associated molecular patterns (HAMPs) are molecules produced by herbivorous insects that aid them to elicit plant defenses leading to impairment of insect growth, while effectors suppress plant defenses and contribute to increased susceptibility to subsequent feeding by chewing herbivores. Besides secretions that originate from glands (e.g., saliva) and fore- and midgut regions (e.g., oral secretions) of chewing herbivores, recent studies have shown that insect frass and herbivore-associated endosymbionts also play a critical role in modulating plant defenses. In this review, we provide an update on a growing body of literature that discusses the chewing insect HAMPs and effectors and the mechanisms by which they modulate host defenses. Novel “omic” approaches and availability of new tools will help researchers to move forward this discipline by identifying and characterizing novel insect HAMPs and effectors and how these herbivore-associated cues are perceived by host plant receptors.

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