Plants are under biotic stress due to aggressions by phytophagous, pathogen and parasitic organisms, including insects. A striking feature of insects is their ability to adapt themselves rapidly to environmental changes. Epigenetic marks are universal chemical modifications of DNA and histones, mainly through methylation. We are interested in investigating the potential of stable epigenetic marks that might contribute to lasting and heritable phenotypes in insects. The Drosophila foraging (for) gene, encoding a cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG), has been extensively described as a frequency and density-dependent gene for which transcripts are differentially expressed by unknown epigenetic mechanisms. Some 'for' transcripts, when expressed in a population at high density for many generations, concomitantly trigger strong dispersive behavior associated with foraging activity. In our recent report, we show that 'for' influences the oxidation of aldehyde groups of aromatic molecules emitted by plants via Aldh III and a phosphorylatable adaptor. The enhanced efficiency of oxidation of aldehyde odorants into carboxyl groups by the action of 'for' lessens their action and toxicity, which should facilitate exploration and guidance in a complex odor environment.
- Arthaud L., Rokia-Mille S.B., Raad H., Dombrovsky A., Prevost N., Capovilla M., & Robichon A. (2011) Trade-Off between Toxicity and Signal Detection Orchestrated by Frequency- and Density-Dependent Genes. PLoS ONE 6(5): e19805. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019805