Far-red light increases maize volatile emissions in response to volatile cues from neighbouring plants


Plant Cell Environ. 2024 Jun 14. doi: 10.1111/pce.14995. Online ahead of print.


Plants perceive the presence and defence status of their neighbours through light and volatile cues, but how plants integrate both stimuli is poorly understood. We investigated if and how low Red to Far red light (R:FR) ratios, indicative of shading or canopy closure, affect maize (Zea mays) responses to herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs), including the green leaf volatile (Z)-3-hexenyl acetate. We modulated light signalling and perception by using FR supplementation and a phyB1phyB2 mutant, and we determined volatile release as a response readout. To gain mechanistic insights, we examined expression of volatile biosynthesis genes, hormone accumulation, and photosynthesis. Exposure to a full blend of HIPVs or (Z)-3-hexenyl acetate induced maize volatile release. Short-term FR supplementation increased this response. In contrast, prolonged FR supplementation or constitutive phytochrome B inactivation in phyB1phyB2 plants showed the opposite response. Short-term FR supplementation enhanced photosynthesis and stomatal conductance and (Z)-3-hexenyl acetate-induced JA-Ile levels. We conclude that a FR-enriched light environment can prompt maize plants to respond more strongly to HIPVs emitted by neighbours, which might be explained by changes in photosynthetic processes and phytochrome B signalling. Our findings reveal interactive responses to light and volatile cues with potentially important consequences for plant-plant and plant-herbivore interactions.

PMID:38872585 | DOI:10.1111/pce.14995