American Chemical Society
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Betulin, Synthesized by PpCYP716A1, Is a Key Endogenous Defensive Metabolite of Peach against Aphids

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posted on 2022-09-29, 11:38 authored by Junxiu Wang, Yong Li, Xinwei Wang, Ke Cao, Gengrui Zhu, Weichao Fang, Changwen Chen, Jinlong Wu, Jian Guo, Qiang Xu, Lirong Wang
Wild pest-resistant germplasms employ secondary metabolites to withstand insect attacks. A close wild relative of the cultivated peach, Prunus davidiana, displays strong resistance to green peach aphids by utilizing metabolites to cope with aphid infestation; however, the underlying mechanism of aphid resistance remains mostly unknown. Here, metabolomic analysis was performed to explore the changes in metabolite levels in P. davidiana after aphid infestation. The data revealed that betulin is a key defensive metabolite in peaches that protects against aphids and possesses potent aphidicidal activity. Further toxicity tests demonstrated that betulin was toxic to pests but not to beneficial insects. Additionally, transcriptomic and phylogenetic analyses revealed that the cytochrome P450 gene PpCYP716A1 was responsible for betulin synthesisthis finding was confirmed by the heterologous expression of this gene. This study revealed a strategy whereby plants harness defense metabolites to develop resistance to pests. These findings may facilitate controlling such pests.