Low-dose crosstalk between jasmonic acid and salicylic acid signalling pathways results in a dynamic plant phenotype in terms of plant volatile emission and behavioural responses of an herbivorous spider mite.
The jasmonic acid (JA) and salicylic acid (SA) signalling pathways, which mediate induced plant defence responses, can express negative crosstalk. Limited knowledge is available on the effects of this crosstalk on host-plant selection behaviour of herbivores. We report on temporal and dosage effects of such crosstalk on host preference and oviposition-site selection behaviour of the herbivorous spider mite Tetranychus urticae towards Lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus) plants, including underlying mechanisms. Behavioural observations reveal a dynamic temporal response of mites to single or combined applications of JA and SA to the plant, including attraction and repellence, and an antagonistic interaction between SA- and JA-mediated plant responses. Dose-response experiments show that concentrations of 0.001mM and higher of one phytohormone can neutralize the repellent effect of a 1mM application of the other phytohormone on herbivore behaviour. Moreover, antagonism between the two signal-transduction pathways affects phytohormone-induced volatile emission. Our multidisciplinary study reveals the dynamic plant phenotype that is modulated by subtle changes in relative phytohormonal titres and consequences for the dynamic host-plant selection by an herbivore. The longer-term effects on plant–herbivore interactions deserve further investigation.