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, Prof. D.G. Heckel, Prof. Dr. R. Oelmüller

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): Dr. C. Krempl, A. Schaller (Uni Hohenheim)

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

Crucifer plants (e.g. horseradish, mustard, and Arabidopsis thaliana) defend themselves against herbivores with an activated two-component defense system consisting of glucosinolates and the enzyme myrosinase. Upon tissue damage, glucosinolates are hydrolyzed to unstable aglycons which spontaneously rearrange to highly reactive isothiocyanates. Nevertheless, several herbivores as for example Phyllotreta spp. are specialized to feed on glucosinolate-containing plants and are able to selectively sequester and store intact glucosinolates from food plants in their bodies. However, it is unknown how these beetles overcome plant myrosinase activity during feeding to sequester intact glucosinolates.

Furtheron, Phyllotreta spp. possess an endogenous beetle myrosinase indicating that the glucosinolate-myrosinase system within these beetles is used for their own defense against predators. With this strategy they would exploit the host plant defense and use it for their own benefit. How both components are stored in the beetle to prevent self-intoxication and whether this system is indeed used by the insect to defend itself against predators is unknown so far.
last updated on 2019-01-15