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Plants and insect herbivores are in a relentless battle to outwit each other. Plants have evolved various strategies to detect herbivores and mount an effective defense system against them. These defenses include physical and structural barriers such as spines, trichomes, cuticle, or chemical compounds, including secondary metabolites such as phenolics and terpenes. Plants perceive herbivory by both mechanical and chemical means. Mechanical sensing can occur through the perception of insect biting, piercing, or chewing, while chemical signaling occurs through the perception of various herbivore-derived compounds such as oral secretions (OS) or regurgitant, insect excreta (frass), or oviposition fluids. Interestingly, ion channels or transporters are the first responders for the perception of these mechanical and chemical cues. These transmembrane pore proteins can play an important role in plant defense through the induction of early signaling components such as plasma transmembrane potential (Vm) fluctuation, intracellular calcium (Ca2+), and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, followed by defense gene expression, and, ultimately, plant defense responses. In recent years, studies on early plant defense signaling in response to herbivory have been gaining momentum with the application of genetically encoded GFP-based sensors for real-time monitoring of early signaling events and genetic tools to manipulate ion channels involved in plant-herbivore interactions. In this review, we provide an update on recent developments and advances on early signaling events in plant-herbivore interactions, with an emphasis on the role of ion channels in early plant defense signaling.


© 2021 by the authors

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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