Circumventing host manipulation by spider mites as a crop protection strategy


Abstract: Spider mites are herbivores and therefore have to deal with host resistance. Inresponse to host resistance, spider mites have evolved a rich palette of traits that allow them toavoid, resist or suppress plant defenses. Our research focusses on adaptations that enable mitesto block or change harmful plant traits. We discovered that herbivorous mites inject specializedsalivary proteins (named effectors) into plant cells to alter host metabolism and suppress plantdefenses. Effector proteins often interact with plant proteins to increase host susceptibility.However, we can circumvent the mite’s manipulations of its host by destabilizing thisinteraction in planta. Using this knowledge, we now develop novel plant resistance traits thatcounteract defense suppression.

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