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Caterpillar- and Salivary-Specific Modification of Plant Proteins

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posted on 05.11.2010, 00:00 by Karine Thivierge, Alberto Prado, Brian T. Driscoll, Éric Bonneil, Pierre Thibault, Jacqueline C. Bede
Though there is overlap, plant responses to caterpillar herbivory show distinct variations from mechanical wounding. In particular, effectors in caterpillar oral secretions modify wound-associated plant responses. Previous studies have focused on transcriptional and protein abundance differences in response to caterpillar herbivory. This study investigated Spodoptera exigua caterpillar-specific post-translational modification of Arabidopsis thaliana soluble leaf proteins by liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization/mass spectroscopy/mass spectroscopy (LC/ESI/MS/MS). Given that caterpillar labial saliva contains oxidoreductases, such as glucose oxidase, particular attention was paid to redox-associated modifications, such as the oxidation of protein cysteine residues. Caterpillar- and saliva-specific protein modifications were observed. Differential phosphorylation of the jasmonic acid biosynthetic enzyme, lipoxygenase 2, and a chaperonin protein is seen in plants fed upon by caterpillars with intact salivary secretions compared to herbivory by larvae with impaired labial salivary secretions. Often a systemic suppression of photosynthesis is associated with caterpillar herbivory. Of the five proteins modified in a caterpillar-specific manner (a transcription repressor, a DNA-repair enzyme, PS I P700, Rubisco and Rubisco activase), three are associated with photosynthesis. Oxidative modifications are observed, such as caterpillar-specific denitrosylation of Rubisco activase and chaperonin, cysteine oxidation of Rubisco, DNA-repair enzyme, and chaperonin and caterpillar-specific 4-oxo-2-nonenal modification of the DNA-repair enzyme.