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Data from: Herbivore-induced DNA demethylation changes floral signalling and attractiveness to pollinators in Brassica rapa

Citation

Schiestl, Florian et al. (2017), Data from: Herbivore-induced DNA demethylation changes floral signalling and attractiveness to pollinators in Brassica rapa, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.rf452

Abstract

Plants have to fine-tune their signals to optimise the trade-off between herbivore deterrence and pollinator attraction. An important mechanism in mediating plant-insect interactions is the regulation of gene expression via DNA methylation. However, the effect of herbivore-induced DNA methylation changes on pollinator-relevant plant signalling has not been systematically investigated. Here, we assessed the impact of foliar herbivory on DNA methylation and floral traits in the model crop plant Brassica rapa. Methylation-sensitive amplified fragment length polymorphism (MSAP) analysis showed that leaf damage by the caterpillar Pieris brassicae was associated with genome-wide methylation changes in both leaves and flowers of B. rapa as well as a downturn in flower number, morphology and scent. A comparison to plants with jasmonic acid-induced defence showed similar demethylation patterns in leaves, but both the floral methylome and phenotype differed significantly from P. brassicae infested plants. Standardised genome-wide demethylation with 5-azacytidine in five different B. rapa full-sib groups further resulted in a genotype-specific downturn of floral morphology and scent, which significantly reduced the attractiveness of the plants to the pollinator bee Bombus terrestris. These results suggest that DNA methylation plays an important role in adjusting plant signalling in response to changing insect communities.

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