Chemical ecology

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Methyl salicylate ester is a plant metabolite involved in plant-insect and plant-plant interactions. Here, Yu et al. show that a nematode-trapping fungus has potential to produce a related compound, 6-methyl salicylate, which attracts its prey (nematodes) and modulates spore germination and trap formation in the fungus.

    • Xi Yu
    • , Xiaodi Hu
    •  & Reinhard Fischer
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The herbivorous horseradish flea beetle sequesters plant toxins to defend against predators. Here the authors identify glucosinolate transporters expressed in the beetle Malpighian tubules and provide evidence that these reabsorb glucosinolates from the tubule lumen to prevent their loss by excretion.

    • Zhi-Ling Yang
    • , Hussam Hassan Nour-Eldin
    •  & Franziska Beran
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Small molecules in the rhizosphere regulate interactions between plants and other organisms. Here the authors show that an ascaroside pheromone secreted by plant-parasitic nematodes is converted by host plant peroxisomal β-oxidation into shorter side-chained ascarosides that repel nematodes.

    • Murli Manohar
    • , Francisco Tenjo-Castano
    •  & Frank C. Schroeder
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Pheromones are an essential cue for species recognition and mate selection in many insects including the butterfly Bicyclus anynana. Here the authors show that females with a short social experience of a new male learn preferences for novel pheromone blends, a preference which also occurs in their daughters.

    • Emilie Dion
    • , Li Xian Pui
    •  & Antónia Monteiro
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Plants immune responses are triggered upon perception of volatile monoterpenes. Here, Wenig et al. show that a feed-forward loop featuring LEGUME LECTIN-LIKE PROTEIN1 propagates monoterpene-associated cues both within and between plants, illustrating how systemic immunity could act at a population level.

    • Marion Wenig
    • , Andrea Ghirardo
    •  & A. Corina Vlot
  • Article
    | Open Access

    It is thought that fungi protect themselves from predators by the production of toxic compounds. Here, Xu et al. show that a wide range of animal predators avoid feeding on Fusarium fungi, and this depends on fungal production of a bis-naphthopyrone pigment that is not toxic to the predators.

    • Yang Xu
    • , Maria Vinas
    •  & Petr Karlovsky
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Burkholderia bacteria protect the offspring of Lagria beetles against pathogens. Here, Flórez et al. identify an antifungal polyketide that is likely encoded by a horizontally acquired gene cluster on the genome of a dominant, uncultured Burkholderia symbiont of Lagria villosa.

    • Laura V. Flórez
    • , Kirstin Scherlach
    •  & Martin Kaltenpoth
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Acromyrmex ants cultivate fungus gardens that can be parasitized by Escovopsis sp., leading to colony collapse. Here, Heine et al. identify two secondary metabolites produced by Escovopsis that accumulate in Acromyrmex tissue, reduce behavioural defenses and suppress symbiotic Pseudonocardia bacteria.

    • Daniel Heine
    • , Neil A. Holmes
    •  & Barrie Wilkinson
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Plants are able to prime anti-herbivore defenses in response to olfactory cues of insect pests. Here, Helms et al. identify the insect pheromone E,S-conophthorin produced by the goldenrod gall fly as the specific chemical component that elicits this priming response in goldenrod plants.

    • Anjel M. Helms
    • , Consuelo M. De Moraes
    •  & Mark C. Mescher
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The range of odours that an insect can detect depends on its olfactory receptors. Here, the authors functionally characterize the olfactory receptor repertoire of the mothSpodoptera littoralis using the Drosophilaempty neuron system and reconstruct the evolution of these receptors in the Lepidoptera.

    • Arthur de Fouchier
    • , William B. Walker III
    •  & Emmanuelle Jacquin-Joly
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Cell migration is regulated by spatial and temporal information, but how the two are integrated is not well understood. Here, Nakajima et al. use dynamic microfluidics gradients to show that Ras activation at the leading edge of Dictyosteliumis suppressed when chemoattractant concentration decreases over time.

    • Akihiko Nakajima
    • , Shuji Ishihara
    •  & Satoshi Sawai
  • Article |

    Certain bacterial metabolites can affect insect behaviour, but the underlying mechanisms are unclear. Here, the authors show that 2-aminoacetophenone, produced by the opportunistic human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, attracts flies and facilitates microbial dissemination and colonization of the fly gut.

    • Stefania-Elisavet Kapsetaki
    • , Ilias Tzelepis
    •  & Yiorgos Apidianakis
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Chemical communication can evolve from compounds used for other purposes, but experimental evidence is scarce. Here, Weiss et al.show a gradual evolution of a defensive compound into a competition avoidance mediator and a sex pheromone, which was accompanied by diversification of chemical messengers to obtain the required specificity.

    • Ingmar Weiss
    • , Thomas Rössler
    •  & Johannes Stökl
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Female Swallowtail butterflies will only lay their eggs on a small number of plants, which they choose by detecting specific chemicals on the leaf surface. Here, a gustatory receptor,PxutGr1, is identified in Papilio xuthus, which is used by the butterfly to detect synephrine when selecting a host plant.

    • Katsuhisa Ozaki
    • , Masasuke Ryuda
    •  & Hiroshi Yoshikawa