Plant Diversity ›› 2018, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (04): 189-195.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2018.06.006

• Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Current understanding of maize and rice defense against insect herbivores

Jinfeng Qi, Saif ul Malook, Guojing Shen, Lei Gao, Cuiping Zhang, Jing Li, Jingxiong Zhang, Lei Wang, Jianqiang Wu   

  1. Department of Economic Plants and Biotechnology, Yunnan Key Laboratory for Wild Plant Resources, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650201, China
  • Received:2018-04-13 Revised:2018-06-28 Online:2018-08-25 Published:2018-09-08
  • Contact: 10.1016/j.pld.2018.06.006
  • Supported by:

    The Wu lab is partly supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 31772179, U1502263, 31600213, 31470369, and 31770301).


Plants have sophisticated defense systems to fend off insect herbivores. How plants defend against herbivores in dicotyledonous plants, such as Arabidopsis and tobacco, have been relatively well studied, yet little is known about the defense responses in monocotyledons. Here, we review the current understanding of rice (Oryza sativa) and maize (Zea mays) defense against insects. In rice and maize, elicitors derived from insect herbivore oral secretions or oviposition fluids activate phytohormone signaling, and transcriptomic changes mediated mainly by transcription factors lead to accumulation of defense-related secondary metabolites. Direct defenses, such as trypsin protein inhibitors in rice and benzoxazinoids in maize, have anti-digestive or toxic effects on insect herbivores. Herbivory-induced plant volatiles, such as terpenes, are indirect defenses, which attract the natural enemies of herbivores. R gene-mediated defenses against herbivores are also discussed.

Key words: Rice, Maize, Herbivores, Secondary metabolites, R genes