Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is an important crop for biofuel production but it also serves as host for greenbugs (Schizaphis graminum Rondani; GB). Although transcriptomic studies have been done to infer the molecular mechanisms of plant defense against GB, little is known about the effect of GB infestation on the switchgrass protein expression and phosphorylation regulation. The global response of the switchgrass cultivar Summer proteome and phosphoproteome was monitored by label-free proteomics shotgun in GB-infested and uninfested control plants at 10 days post infestation. Peptides matching a total of 3,594 proteins were identified and 429 were differentially expressed proteins in GB-infested plants relative to uninfested control plants. Among these, 291 and 138 were up and downregulated by GB infestation, respectively. Phosphoproteome analysis identified 310 differentially phosphorylated proteins (DP) from 350 phosphopeptides with a total of 399 phosphorylated sites. These phosphopeptides had more serine phosphorylated residues (79%), compared to threonine phosphorylated sites (21%). Overall, KEGG pathway analysis revealed that GB feeding led to the enriched accumulation of proteins important for biosynthesis of plant defense secondary metabolites and repressed the accumulation of proteins involved in photosynthesis. Interestingly, defense modulators such as terpene synthase, papain-like cysteine protease, serine carboxypeptidase, and lipoxygenase2 were upregulated at the proteome level, corroborating previously published transcriptomic data.
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