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A thrips vector of tomato spotted wilt virus responds to tomato acylsugar chemical diversity with reduced oviposition and virus inoculation.


There is increasing evidence that acylsugars deter insect pests and plant virus vectors, including the western flower thrips (WFT), Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande), vector of tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV). Acylsugars are sugar-polyesters composed of saturated, un-saturated, and variously branched short and long chain fatty acids (FAs) esterified to a glucose (acylglucose) or sucrose (acylsucrose) moiety. We sought to understand how acylsucrose amount and composition of associated FA profiles interacted to mediate resistance to WFT oviposition and TSWV inoculation on tomato leaves. Towards this goal, we examined WFT oviposition and TSWV inoculation behavior on tomato lines bred to exude varying amounts of acylsucrose in association with diverse FA profiles. Our data show that as acylsucrose amounts increased, WFT egg-laying (oviposition) decreased and TSWV inoculation was suppressed. Western flower thrips also responded to FA profiles that included iC4, iC11, nC12 and nC10 FA. These findings support improving acylsugar-mediated resistance against WFT by breeding tomatoes exuding greater amounts of acylsucrose associated with specific FA profiles. We show that increasing acylsucrose amount output by type IV trichomes and selecting for particular FA profiles through advanced breeding profoundly affects WFT behavior in ways that benefit management of WFT as direct pests and as TSWV vectors.

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