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Influences of Plant Traits on Immune Responses of Specialist and Generalist Herbivores
Department of Biological Sciences, Gainesville State College, Oakwood, GA 30566, USA
Received: 30 April 2012; in revised form: 25 May 2012 / Accepted: 13 June 2012 / Published: 19 June 2012
Abstract: Specialist and generalist insect herbivore species often differ in how they respond to host plant traits, particularly defensive traits, and these responses can include weakened or strengthened immune responses to pathogens and parasites. Accurate methods to measure immune response in the presence and absence of pathogens and parasites are necessary to determine whether susceptibility to these natural enemies is reduced or increased by host plant traits. Plant chemical traits are particularly important in that host plant metabolites may function as antioxidants beneficial to the immune response, or interfere with the immune response of both specialist and generalist herbivores. Specialist herbivores that are adapted to process and sometimes accumulate specific plant compounds may experience high metabolic demands that may decrease immune response, whereas the metabolic demands of generalist species differ due to more broad-substrate enzyme systems. However, the direct deleterious effects of plant compounds on generalist herbivores may weaken their immune responses. Further research in this area is important given that the ecological relevance of plant traits to herbivore immune responses is equally important in natural systems and agroecosystems, due to potential incompatibility of some host plant species and cultivars with biological control agents of herbivorous pests.
Keywords: antioxidant; ecological immunity; encapsulation; Lepidoptera; secondary compounds; sequestration; tradeoff
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MDPI and ACS Style
Lampert, E. Influences of Plant Traits on Immune Responses of Specialist and Generalist Herbivores. Insects 2012, 3, 573-592.
Lampert E. Influences of Plant Traits on Immune Responses of Specialist and Generalist Herbivores. Insects. 2012; 3(2):573-592.
Lampert, Evan. 2012. "Influences of Plant Traits on Immune Responses of Specialist and Generalist Herbivores." Insects 3, no. 2: 573-592.