Compartmentalization of Metabolites and Enzymatic Mediation in Nutritive Cells of Cecidomyiidae Galls on Piper Arboreum Aubl. (Piperaceae)

Gracielle Pereira Bragança, Denis Coelho Oliveira, Rosy Mary dos Santos Isaias


Galling insects commonly change the chemical profile of their host plant tissues during gall induction and establishment. As a consequence, galls accumulate a wide range of metabolites in specialized cells, which may be organized in a nutritive tissue and in outer storage cells. The nutrients compartmentalized in nutritive cells may be directly assessed or metabolized via enzymatic mediation, while the gall outer cortex may accumulate secondary metabolites. These secondary metabolitesmay configure a specialized chemical barrier against the attack of natural enemies. Either the nutritive inner cells or the outer cortical cells, with their specific metabolic apparatus, should differentiate under the chemical constraints of each host plant-galling herbivore interaction. This premise is herein addressed by the investigation of the histochemical profile of the non-galled leaves and galls induced by Diptera: Cecidomyiidae on Piper arboreum. The spatial compartmentalization of the nutritive and defensive metabolites indicates the new functions assumed during the redifferentiation of the host plant cells. The enzymatic mediation of the primary metabolites by sucrose synthase and invertases favors the nutritive requirements of the galling Cecidomyiidae or the structural maintenance of the gall. The accumulation of secondary metabolites is restrict to the tissue layers not involved in nutrition, and may act in the chemical protection against predators or parasitoids. Current results systematically document metabolites compartmentalization, evidence the impairment of toxic compounds storage in cells surrounding the larval chamber, as well as, detect the redirection of nutritive substances to the site of the Cecidomyiidae feeding. The activity of sucrose synthase is restrict to the nutritive tissue in the galls on Piper arboreum, and reinforces previous detection of this enzyme mediation in carbohydrate metabolism in Cecidomyiidae galls.

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Copyright (c) 2016 Gracielle Pereira Bragança, Denis Coelho Oliveira, Rosy Mary dos Santos Isaias

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Journal of Plant Studies   ISSN 1927-0461 (Print)   ISSN 1927-047X (Online)  E-mail:

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