• Rapid [Gamma]-amino acid synthesis and the inhibition of the growth and development of oblique banded leaf-roller larvae

      Ramputh, Al-Idrissi.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1996-07-09)
      The hypothesis that rapid y-aminobutyric acid (GABA) accumulation is a plant defense against phytophagous insects was investigated. Simulation of mechanical damage resulting from phytophagous insect activity increased soybean (Glycine max L.) leaf GABA 10- to 25-fold within 1 to 4 min. Pulverizing leaf tissue resulted in a value of 2. 15 (±O. 11 SE) ~mol GABA per gram fresh weight. Increasing the GABA levels in a synthetic diet from 1.6 to 2.6 Jlffiol GABA per gram fresh weight reduced the growth rates, developmental rates, total biomass (50% reduction), and survival rates (30% reduction) of cultured Oblique banded leaf-roller (OBLR) (Choristonellra rosacealla Harris) larvae. In field experiments OBLR larvae were found predominantly on young terminal leaves which have a reduced capacity to produce GABA in response to mechanical damage. Glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) is a cytosolic enzyme which catalyses the decarboxylation of L-Glu to GABA. GAD is a calmodulin binding enzyme whose activity is stimulated dramatically by increased cytosolic H+ or Ca2 + ion concentrations. Phytophagous insect activity will disrupt the cellular compartmentation of H+ and Ca2 +, activate GAD and subsequent GABA accumulation. In animals GABA is a major inhibitory neurotransmitter. The possible mechanisms resulting in GABA inhibited growth and development of insects are discussed.