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Genetic Engineering of Terpenoid Metabolism Attracts Bodyguards to Arabidopsis

Science  23 Sep 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5743, pp. 2070-2072
DOI: 10.1126/science.1116232

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Abstract

Herbivore-damaged plants release complex mixtures of volatiles that attract natural enemies of the herbivore. To study the relevance of individual components of these mixtures for predator attraction, we manipulated herbivory-induced volatiles through genetic engineering. Metabolic engineering of terpenoids, which dominate the composition of many induced plant volatile bouquets, holds particular promise. By switching the subcellular localization of the introduced sesquiterpene synthase to the mitochondria, we obtained transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana plants emitting two new isoprenoids. These altered plants attracted carnivorous predatory mites (Phytoseiulus persimilis) that aid the plants' defense mechanisms.

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