Physiological and molecular mechanisms of whitefly-plant interactions

Difference in host plant range between whiteflies

The invasive B and Q whiteflies have a much wide range of host plants than indigenous whiteflies (Zang et al. 2006; Xu et al. 2011). B and Q whiteflies differ in their range of host plants, e.g. B performs better than Q on brassicas crops while Q performs better than B on pepper and bean crops.

 

Molecular and physiological mechanisms of host plant use

When attacked by whiteflies, plants initiate multiple levels of defence responses including the regulation of defence signal-transduction pathways and production of secondary metabolites. To counter plant defenses, whiteflies may regulate plant defense or detoxify plant toxins. Furthermore, the differential capacity to cope with plant defenses by invasive and indigenous whitefly species is likely caused by the distinct genetics of insects. Comparative transcriptional analyses between whitefly species indicate that compared to those of the native species, the genes related to basic metabolism and detoxification were expressed at an elevated level in the invasive whiteflies (Wang et al. 2013). Increase of genetic resources of whiteflies and development and application of RNA interfering in phloem-feeding insects provide us with unprecedented opportunities to reveal the molecular basis of differential capacity to utilize various plants by the invasive and indigenous whiteflies.