Recent Posts

An aphid RNA transcript migrates systemically within plants and is a virulence factor (PNAS)

Aphids are an important insect pest that can cause significant yield loss to crops, particularly through feeding damage and as vector for devasting plant pathogens. How aphids and other sap-feeding insects use their stylet to penetrate the plant vascular tissues is well studied but the factors involved…

Flowering plant composition shapes pathogen infection intensity and reproduction in bumble bee colonies (PNAS)

Pathogens are one of many factors underlying pollinator decline.  Diseases can be transmitted from commercial honeybees to wild bees through flowers. Bumble bees (Bombus impatiens) are infected by the gut pathogen Crithidia bombi which is contracted at flowers by fecal-oral transmission. However, not…

Plant genes for defense against insect eggs (bioRxiv)

Plants can recognize eggs of herbivorous insects deposited on leaves and mount defense responses to avoid the future threat of herbivory. Similar to plant hypersensitive response against pathogens, plants can cause localized cell death to defend themselves against insect eggs. This response is called…

A Plant Protein That Foils Aphid Feeding

Kloth et al. probe aphid feeding behavior. The Plant Cell 2017  doi: 10.1105/tpc.16.00424 By Karen Kloth Background: Aphids are phloem-feeding insects. They penetrate plants with a piercing-sucking mouth. Once they reach a tube where the plant transports its sugar-rich phloem sap, they can take…