Insects have long been the most abundant herbivores, and plants have evolved sophisticated mechanisms to defend against their attack. In particular, plants can perceive specific patterns of tissue damage associated with insect herbivory. Some plant species can perceive certain elicitors in insect oral secretions (OS) that enter wounds during feeding, and rapidly activate a series of intertwined signaling pathways to orchestrate the biosynthesis of various defensive metabolites. Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), common to all eukaryotes, are involved in the orchestration of many cellular processes, including development and stress responses. In plants, at least two MAPKs, salicylic acid-induced protein kinase (SIPK) and wound-induced protein kinase (WIPK), are rapidly activated by wounding or insect OS; importantly, genetic studies using transgenic or mutant plants impaired in MAPK signaling indicated that MAPKs play critical roles in regulating the herbivory-induced dynamics of phytohormones, such as jasmonic acid, ethylene and salicylic acid, and MAPKs are also required for transcriptional activation of herbivore defense-related genes and accumulation of defensive metabolites. In this review, we summarize recent developments in understanding the functions of MAPKs in plant resistance to insect herbivores.
Max Planck Society
; Yunnan Recruitment Program of Experts in Sciences [2012HA016]
; Thousand Young Talents Program
; Max Planck Partner Group Program
; Chinese Academy of Sciences
; European Research Council