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Science 309 (5743): 2070-2072

Copyright © 2005 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Genetic Engineering of Terpenoid Metabolism Attracts Bodyguards to Arabidopsis

Iris F. Kappers,1,2* Asaph Aharoni,2,3* Teun W. J. M. van Herpen,2 Ludo L. P. Luckerhoff,1,2 Marcel Dicke,1 Harro J. Bouwmeester2{dagger}

Abstract: Herbivore-damaged plants release complex mixtures of volatiles that attract natural enemies of the herbivore. To study the relevance of individual components of these mixtures for predator attraction, we manipulated herbivory-induced volatiles through genetic engineering. Metabolic engineering of terpenoids, which dominate the composition of many induced plant volatile bouquets, holds particular promise. By switching the subcellular localization of the introduced sesquiterpene synthase to the mitochondria, we obtained transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana plants emitting two new isoprenoids. These altered plants attracted carnivorous predatory mites (Phytoseiulus persimilis) that aid the plants' defense mechanisms.

1 Laboratory of Entomology, Wageningen University, Post Office Box 8031, 6700 EH Wageningen, Netherlands.
2 Plant Research International, Wageningen University and Research Centre, Post Office Box 16, 6700 AA Wageningen, Netherlands.
3 Weizmann Institute of Science, Post Office Box 26, Rehovot 76100, Israel.

* These authors contributed equally to this work.

{dagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: harro.bouwmeester{at}

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