- Resistance against pathogens and herbivorous insects in many plant results from the expression of resistance (R) genes. Few reports, however, have considered the effects of elevated CO2 on R gene-based resistance in plants.
- The current study determined the responses of two near isogenic Medicago truncatula genotypes (Jester has an R gene and A17 does not) to the pea aphid and elevated CO2 in open-top chambers in the field.
- Aphid abundance, mean relative growth rate and feeding efficiency were increased by elevated CO2 on A17 plants but were reduced on Jester plants. According to proteomic and gene expression data, elevated CO2 enhanced pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP)-triggered immunity (PTI) but decreased the effector-triggered immunity (ETI) in aphid-infested A17 plants. For aphid-infested Jester plants, by contrast, elevated CO2 enhanced the ETI-related heat shock protein (HSP) 90 and its co-chaperones, the jasmonic acid (JA) signaling pathway, and ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis. In a loss-of-function experiment, silencing of the HSP90 gene in Jester plants impaired the JA signaling pathway and ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis against the aphid under ambient CO2, and negated the increased resistance against the aphid under elevated CO2.
- Our results suggest that increases in expression of HSP90 are responsible for the enhanced resistance against the aphid under elevated CO2.