Theresa Sporer

   Research Group Sequestration and Detoxification in Insects
 Phone:+49 (0)3641 57 1557Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
 Fax:+49 (0)3641 57 1502Hans-Knöll-Straße 8
  emailD-07745 Jena

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PhD Thesis

started in Apr 2015
How do flea beetles overcome the 'mustard oil bomb'?
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Biological Pharmaceutical Faculty
First Supervisor: Dr. F. Beran
Co-Supervisor(s): Prof. J. Gershenzon

Master Thesis

Detoxification of gossypol in the Heliothine moth Helicoverpa armigera via glycosylation by UDP-Glycosyltransferases
Universität Hohenheim Stuttgart, Naturwissenschaften
First Supervisor: Prof. D.G. Heckel
Co-Supervisor(s): C. Krempl, A. Schaller (Uni Hohenheim)

Current research (PhD thesis):
How do flea beetles overcome the mustard-oil bomb?

Plants of the order Brassicales defend themselves against herbivores with an activated two-component defense system. The so-called “mustard-oil bomb” consists of glucosinolates (GLS) and the enzyme myrosinase (β-thioglucosidase). GLS are derived from amino acids and according to the precursor amino acid they are classified into aliphatic, benzenic, and indolic GLS. Upon tissue damage, the spatial separation of both components is abolished and the non-toxic GLS are hydrolyzed to unstable aglycons which spontaneously rearrange to highly reactive isothiocyanates (ITC).
Nevertheless, several herbivores are specialized to feed on GLS-containing plants. Most specialists are able to prevent the formation of ITCs, e.g. by their feeding mode, desulfation of GLS, or a fast separation of substrate and enzyme via sequestration.
Phyllotreta spp. flea beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) feed on GLS-containing plants in all life stages and thus are adapted to the plant defense system. Even though they destroy the plant material with their chewing mouthparts, they are able to selectively sequester GLS from their host plants.

The aim of the project is to determine how Phyllotreta spp. prevent glucosinolate hydrolysis by the plant myrosinase to sequester intact GLS from their host plant.
last updated on 2016-07-21