Phyllotreta striolata flea beetles use host plant defense compounds to create their own glucosinolate-myrosinase system.
ABSTRACT: The ability of a specialized herbivore to overcome the chemical defense of a particular plant taxon not only makes it accessible as a food source but may also provide metabolites to be exploited for communication or chemical defense. Phyllotreta flea beetles are adapted to crucifer plants (Brassicales) that are defended by the glucosinolate-myrosinase system, the so-called "mustard-oil bomb." Tissue damage caused by insect feeding brings glucosinolates into contact with the plant enzyme myrosinase, which hydrolyzes them to form toxic compounds, such as isothiocyanates. However, we previously observed that Phyllotreta striolata beetles themselves produce volatile glucosinolate hydrolysis products. Here, we show that P. striolata adults selectively accumulate glucosinolates from their food plants to up to 1.75% of their body weight and express their own myrosinase. By combining proteomics and transcriptomics, a gene responsible for myrosinase activity in P. striolata was identified. The major substrates of the heterologously expressed myrosinase were aliphatic glucosinolates, which were hydrolyzed with at least fourfold higher efficiency than aromatic and indolic glucosinolates, and β-O-glucosides. The identified beetle myrosinase belongs to the glycoside hydrolase family 1 and has up to 76% sequence similarity to other β-glucosidases. Phylogenetic analyses suggest species-specific diversification of this gene family in insects and an independent evolution of the beetle myrosinase from other insect β-glucosidases.
Project description:The horseradish flea beetle Phyllotreta armoraciae exclusively feeds on Brassicaceae, which contain glucosinolates as characteristic defense compounds. Although glucosinolates are usually degraded by plant enzymes (myrosinases) to toxic isothiocyanates after ingestion, P. armoraciae beetles sequester glucosinolates. Between and within brassicaceous plants, the glucosinolate content and composition can differ drastically. But how do these factors influence sequestration in P. armoraciae? To address this question, we performed a five-day feeding experiment with three Arabidopsis thaliana lines that differ four-fold in glucosinolate content and the composition of aliphatic and indolic glucosinolates. We quantified the amounts of ingested, sequestered, and excreted glucosinolates, and analyzed the changes in glucosinolate levels and composition in beetles before and after feeding on Arabidopsis. P. armoraciae accumulated almost all ingested glucosinolate types. However, some glucosinolates were accumulated more efficiently than others, and selected glucosinolates were modified by the beetles. The uptake of new glucosinolates correlated with a decrease in the level of stored glucosinolates so that the total glucosinolate content remained stable at around 35 nmol/mg beetle fresh weight. Beetles excreted previously stored as well as ingested glucosinolates from Arabidopsis, which suggests that P. armoraciae regulate their endogenous glucosinolate level by excretion. The metabolic fate of ingested glucosinolates, i.e. the proportions of sequestered and excreted glucosinolates, depended on glucosinolate type, content, and composition in the food plant. Overall, P. armoraciae sequestered and excreted up to 41% and 31% of the total ingested aliphatic and indolic glucosinolates from Arabidopsis, respectively. In summary, we show that glucosinolate variability in Brassicaceae influences the composition but not the level of sequestered glucosinolates in P. armoraciae beetles.
Project description:Myrosinase is an enzyme present in many functional foods and spices, particularly in Cruciferous vegetables. It hydrolyses glucosinolates which thereafter rearrange into bioactive volatile constituents (isothiocyanates, nitriles). We aimed to develop a simple reversible method for on-gel detection of myrosinase. Reagent composition and application parameters for native PAGE and SDS-PAGE gels were optimized. The proposed method was successfully applied to detect myrosinase (or sulfatase) on-gel: the detection solution contains methyl red which gives intensive red bands where the HSO?- is enzymatically released from the glucosinolates. Subsequently, myrosinase was successfully distinguished from sulfatase by incubating gel bands in a derivatization solution and examination by LC-ESI-MS: myrosinase produced allyl isothiocyanate (detected in conjugate form) while desulfo-sinigrin was released by sulfatase, as expected. After separation of 80 µg protein of crude extracts of Cruciferous vegetables, intensive color develops within 10 min. On-gel detection was found to be linear between 0.031?0.25 U (pure Sinapis alba myrosinase, R² = 0.997). The method was successfully applied to detection of myrosinase isoenzymes from horseradish, Cruciferous vegetables and endophytic fungi of horseradish as well. The method was shown to be very simple, rapid and efficient. It enables detection and partial characterization of glucosinolate decomposing enzymes without protein purification.
Project description:Isothiocyanates (ITCs) are one of several hydrolysis products of glucosinolates, plant secondary metabolites that are substrates for the thioglucohydrolase myrosinase. Recent pursuits toward the development of synthetic non-natural ITCs have consequently led to an exploration of generating these compounds from non-natural glucosinolate precursors. Evaluation of the myrosinase-dependent conversion of select non-natural glucosinolates to non-natural ITCs cannot be accomplished using established ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) spectroscopic methods. To overcome this limitation, an alternative high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-based analytical approach was developed where initial reaction velocities were generated from nonlinear reaction progress curves. Validation of this HPLC method was accomplished through parallel evaluation of three glucosinolates with UV-Vis methodology. The results of this study demonstrate that kinetic data are consistent between both analytical methods and that the tested glucosinolates respond similarly to both Michaelis-Menten and specific activity analyses. Consequently, this work resulted in the complete kinetic characterization of three glucosinolates with Sinapis alba myrosinase, with results that were consistent with previous reports.
Project description:Taste drives consumption of foods. The tropical tree Moringa oleifera is grown worldwide as a protein-rich leafy vegetable and for the medicinal value of its phytochemicals, in particular its glucosinolates, which can lead to a pronounced harsh taste. All studies to date have examined only cultivated, domestic variants, meaning that potentially useful variation in wild type plants has been overlooked. We examine whether domesticated and wild type M. oleifera differ in myrosinase or glucosinolate levels, and whether these different levels impact taste in ways that could affect consumption. We assessed taste and measured levels of protein, glucosinolate, myrosinase content, and direct antioxidant activity of the leaves of 36 M. oleifera accessions grown in a common garden. Taste tests readily highlighted differences between wild type and domesticated M. oleifera. There were differences in direct antioxidant potential, but not in myrosinase activity or protein quantity. However, these two populations were readily separated based solely upon their proportions of the two predominant glucosinolates (glucomoringin and glucosoonjnain). This study demonstrates substantial variation in glucosinolate composition within M. oleifera. The domestication of M. oleifera appears to have involved increases in levels of glucomoringin and substantial reduction of glucosoonjnain, with marked changes in taste.
Project description:Oilseed rape and other crop plants of the family Brassicaceae contain a unique defence system known as the glucosinolate-myrosinase system or the 'mustard oil bomb'. The 'mustard oil bomb' which includes myrosinase and glucosinolates is triggered by abiotic and biotic stress, resulting in the formation of toxic products such as nitriles and isothiocyanates. Myrosinase is present in specialist cells known as 'myrosin cells' and can also be known as toxic mines. The myrosin cell idioblasts of Brassica napus were genetically reprogrammed to undergo controlled cell death (ablation) during seed development. These myrosin cell-free plants have been named MINELESS as they lack toxic mines. This has led to the production of oilseed rape with a significant reduction both in myrosinase levels and in the hydrolysis of glucosinolates. Even though the myrosinase activity in MINELESS was very low compared with the wild type, variation was observed. This variability was overcome by producing homozygous seeds. A microspore culture technique involving non-fertile haploid MINELESS plants was developed and these plants were treated with colchicine to produce double haploid MINELESS plants with full fertility. Double haploid MINELESS plants had significantly reduced myrosinase levels and glucosinolate hydrolysis products. Wild-type and MINELESS plants exhibited significant differences in growth parameters such as plant height, leaf traits, matter accumulation, and yield parameters. The growth and developmental pattern of MINELESS plants was relatively slow compared with the wild type. The characteristics of the pure double haploid MINELESS plant are described and its importance for future biochemical, agricultural, dietary, functional genomics, and plant defence studies is discussed.
Project description:The cabbage stem flea beetle (Psylliodes chrysocephala) is a key pest of oilseed rape in Europe, and is specialized to feed on Brassicaceae plants armed with the glucosinolate-myrosinase defense system. Upon tissue damage, the ?-thioglucosidase enzyme myrosinase hydrolyzes glucosinolates (GLS) to form toxic isothiocyanates (ITCs) which deter non-adapted herbivores. Here, we show that P. chrysocephala selectively sequester GLS from their host plants and store these throughout their life cycle. In addition, P. chrysocephala metabolize GLS to desulfo-GLS, which implies the evolution of GLS sulfatase activity in this specialist. To assess whether P. chrysocephala can largely prevent GLS hydrolysis in ingested plant tissue by sequestration and desulfation, we analyzed the metabolic fate of 4-methylsulfinylbutyl (4MSOB) GLS in adults. Surprisingly, intact and desulfo-GLS together accounted for the metabolic fate of only 26% of the total ingested GLS in P. chrysocephala, indicating that most ingested GLS are nevertheless activated by the plant myrosinase. The presence of 4MSOB-ITC and the corresponding nitrile in feces extracts confirmed the activation of ingested GLS, but the detected amounts of unmetabolized ITCs were low. P. chrysocephala partially detoxifies ITCs by conjugation with glutathione via the conserved mercapturic acid pathway. In addition to known products of the mercapturic acid pathway, we identified two previously unknown cyclic metabolites derived from the cysteine-conjugate of 4MSOB-ITC. In summary, the cabbage stem flea beetle avoids ITC formation by specialized strategies, but also relies on and extends the conserved mercapturic acid pathway to prevent toxicity of formed ITCs.
Project description:Recently, increasing attempts have been made to understand how plant genes function in natura. In this context, transcriptional profiles represent plant physiological status in response to environmental stimuli. Herein, we combined high-throughput RNA-Seq with insect survey data on 19 accessions of Arabidopsis thaliana grown at a field site in Switzerland. We found that genes with the gene ontology (GO) annotations of "glucosinolate biosynthetic process" and "response to insects" were most significantly enriched, and the expression of these genes was highly variable among plant accessions. Nearly half of the total expression variation in the glucosinolate biosynthetic genes (AOPs, ESM1, ESP, and TGG1) was explained by among-accession variation. Of these genes, the expression level of AOP3 differed among Col-0 accession individuals depending on the abundance of the mustard aphid (Lipaphis erysimi). We also found that the expression of the major cis-jasmone activated gene CYP81D11 was positively correlated with the number of flea beetles (Phyllotreta striolata and Phyllotreta atra). Combined with the field RNA-Seq data, bioassays confirmed that AOP3 was up-regulated in response to attack by mustard aphids. The combined results from RNA-Seq and our ecological survey illustrate the feasibility of using field transcriptomics to detect an inducible defense, providing a first step towards an in natura understanding of biotic interactions involving phenotypic plasticity.
Project description:Both physical barriers and reactive phytochemicals represent two important components of a plant's defence system against environmental stress. However, these two defence systems have generally been studied independently. Here, we have taken an exclusive opportunity to investigate the connection between a chemical-based plant defence system, represented by the glucosinolate-myrosinase system, and a physical barrier, represented by the cuticle, using Arabidopsis myrosinase (thioglucosidase; TGG) mutants. The tgg1, single and tgg1 tgg2 double mutants showed morphological changes compared to wild-type plants visible as changes in pavement cells, stomatal cells and the ultrastructure of the cuticle. Extensive metabolite analyses of leaves from tgg mutants and wild-type Arabidopsis plants showed altered levels of cuticular fatty acids, fatty acid phytyl esters, glucosinolates, and indole compounds in tgg single and double mutants as compared to wild-type plants. These results point to a close and novel association between chemical defence systems and physical defence barriers.
Project description:Glucosinolates, a characteristic group of specialized metabolites found in Brassicales plants, are converted to toxic isothiocyanates upon herbivory. Several insect herbivores, including the cabbage stem flea beetle (Psylliodes chrysocephala), prevent glucosinolate activation by forming desulfo-glucosinolates. Here we investigated the molecular basis of glucosinolate desulfation in P. chrysocephala, an important pest of oilseed rape. Enzyme activity assays with crude beetle protein extracts revealed that glucosinolate sulfatase (GSS) activity is associated with the gut membrane and has narrow substrate specificity towards the benzenic glucosinolate sinalbin. In agreement with GSS activity localization in vivo, we identified six genes encoding arylsulfatase-like enzymes with a predicted C-terminal transmembrane domain, of which five showed GSS activity upon heterologous expression in insect cells. PcGSS1 and PcGSS2 used sinalbin and indol-3-ylmethyl glucosinolate as substrates, respectively, whereas PcGSS3, PcGSS4, and PcGSS5 showed weak activity in enzyme assays. RNAi-mediated knock-down of PcGSS1 and PcGSS2 expression in adult beetles confirmed their function in vivo. In a phylogenetic analysis of coleopteran and lepidopteran arylsulfatases, the P. chrysocephala GSSs formed a cluster within a coleopteran-specific sulfatase clade distant from the previously identified GSSs of the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella, suggesting an independent evolution of GSS activity in ermine moths and flea beetles.
Project description:Sesquiterpenes play important roles in insect communication, for example as pheromones. However, no sesquiterpene synthases, the enzymes involved in construction of the basic carbon skeleton, have been identified in insects to date. We investigated the biosynthesis of the sesquiterpene (6R,7S)-himachala-9,11-diene in the crucifer flea beetle Phyllotreta striolata, a compound previously identified as a male-produced aggregation pheromone in several Phyllotreta species. A (6R,7S)-himachala-9,11-diene-producing sesquiterpene synthase activity was detected in crude beetle protein extracts, but only when (Z,E)-farnesyl diphosphate [(Z,E)-FPP] was offered as a substrate. No sequences resembling sesquiterpene synthases from plants, fungi, or bacteria were found in the P. striolata transcriptome, but we identified nine divergent putative trans-isoprenyl diphosphate synthase (trans-IDS) transcripts. Four of these putative trans-IDSs exhibited terpene synthase (TPS) activity when heterologously expressed. Recombinant PsTPS1 converted (Z,E)-FPP to (6R,7S)-himachala-9,11-diene and other sesquiterpenes observed in beetle extracts. RNAi-mediated knockdown of PsTPS1 mRNA in P. striolata males led to reduced emission of aggregation pheromone, confirming a significant role of PsTPS1 in pheromone biosynthesis. Two expressed enzymes showed genuine IDS activity, with PsIDS1 synthesizing (E,E)-FPP, whereas PsIDS3 produced neryl diphosphate, (Z,Z)-FPP, and (Z,E)-FPP. In a phylogenetic analysis, the PsTPS enzymes and PsIDS3 were clearly separated from a clade of known coleopteran trans-IDS enzymes including PsIDS1 and PsIDS2. However, the exon-intron structures of IDS and TPS genes in P. striolata are conserved, suggesting that this TPS gene family evolved from trans-IDS ancestors.