CIRCADIAN CLOCK-ASSOCIATED1 Controls Resistance to Aphids by Altering Indole Glucosinolate Production
CIRCADIAN CLOCK-ASSOCIATED1 (CCA1), a well-known central circadian clock regulator, coordinates plant responses to environmental challenges. Its daily rhythmic expression in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) confers host resistance to the caterpillar Trichoplusia ni. However, it is unclear whether CCA1 plays a role in defense against phloem sap-feeding aphids. In this study, we showed that green peach aphid (Myzus persicae) displayed an intrinsic circadian feeding rhythm. Under constant light, wild-type Columbia-0 (Col-0) Arabidopsis plants coentrained with aphids in the same light/dark cycles exhibited greater antixenotic activity than plants preentrained in the opposite cycle from the aphids. Consistently, circadian mutants cca1-1, cca1-11, lhy-21, ztl-1, ztl-4, and lux-2 suffered more severe damage than Col-0 plants when infested by aphids, suggesting that the Arabidopsis circadian clock plays a defensive role. However, the arrhythmic CCA1 overexpression line (CCA1-OX) displayed strong antixenotic and antibiotic activities despite its loss of circadian regulation. Aphids feeding on CCA1-OX plants exhibited lower reproduction and smaller body size and weight than those on Col-0. Apparently, CCA1 regulates both clock-dependent and -independent defense responses. Systematic investigation based on bioinformatics analyses indicated that resistance to aphids in CCA1-OX plants was due primarily to heightened basal indole glucosinolate levels. Interestingly, aphid feeding induced alternatively spliced intron-retaining CCA1a/b transcripts, which are normally expressed at low levels, whereas expression of the major fully spliced CCA1 transcript remained largely unchanged. We hypothesize that posttranscriptional modulation of CCA1 expression upon aphid infestation maximizes the potential of circadian-mediated defense and stress tolerance while ensuring normal plant development.