Data from: Cytokinin transfer by a free-living mirid to Nicotiana attenuata recapitulates a strategy of endophytic insects
Brütting, Christoph et al. (2019), Data from: Cytokinin transfer by a free-living mirid to Nicotiana attenuata recapitulates a strategy of endophytic insects, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.hq48044
Endophytic insects provide the textbook examples of herbivores that manipulate their host plant's physiology, putatively altering source/sink relationships by transferring cytokinins (CK) to create 'green islands' that increase the nutritional value of infested tissues. However, unambiguous demonstrations of CK transfer are lacking. Here we show that feeding by the free-living herbivore Tupiocoris notatus on Nicotiana attenuata is characterized by stable nutrient levels, increased CK levels and alterations in CK-related transcript levels in attacked leaves, in striking similarity to endophytic insects. Using 15N-isotope labeling, we demonstrate that the CK N6-isopentenyladenine (IP) is transferred from insects to plants via their oral secretions. In the field, T. notatus preferentially attacks leaves with transgenically increased CK levels; plants with abrogated CK-perception are less tolerant of T. notatus feeding damage. We infer that this free-living insect uses CKs to manipulate source/sink relationships to increase food quality and minimize the fitness consequences of its feeding.