19th April: Plant Biology seminar

Christelle Robert (Inst Plant Sciences, University of Berne) will give a talk entitled "Hijacking the plant defenses: a key to herbivore ecological success?"

Highly adapted herbivores have evolved strategies to counteract plant defenses. We investigated how the most damaging maize pest on the planet, Diabrotica virgifera, counteracts and even hijacks the plant secondary metabolites. The root herbivore not only tolerates the plant major secondary metabolites, benzoxazinoids, but also use them to optimally forage for micronutrients and nutritious roots. Furthermore, the herbivore phenocopies the plant benzoxazinoid two-component system by stabilizing, sequestering and reactivating benzoxazinoids against entomopathogenic nematodes, their own natural enemies. These findings can help to understand the remarkable ecological success of the pest and may pave new avenues for pest management strategies.

(Host: Laurent Mène-Saffrané)

Dept Biology - Chemin du musée 10 - 1700 Fribourg - Tel +41 26 / 300 8630 - Fax +41 26 / 300 9741
secretary [at] unifr.ch - Swiss University