Molecular and Histologic Adaptation of Horned Gall Induced by the Aphid Schlechtendalia chinensis (Pemphigidae).Int J Mol Sci. 2021 May 13; 22(10)IJ
Chinese galls are the result of hyperplasia in host plants induced by aphids. The metabolism and gene expression of these galls are modified to accommodate the aphids. Here, we highlight the molecular and histologic features of horned galls according to transcriptome and anatomical structures. In primary pathways, genes were found to be unevenly shifted and selectively expressed in the galls and leaves near the galls (LNG). Pathways for amino acid synthesis and degradation were also unevenly shifted, favoring enhanced accumulation of essential amino acids in galls for aphids. Although galls enhanced the biosynthesis of glucose, which is directly available to aphids, glucose content in the gall tissues was lower due to the feeding of aphids. Pathways of gall growth were up-regulated to provide enough space for aphids. In addition, the horned gall has specialized branched schizogenous ducts and expanded xylem in the stalk, which provide a broader feeding surface for aphids and improve the efficiency of transportation and nutrient exchange. Notably, the gene expression in the LNG showed a similar pattern to that of the galls, but on a smaller scale. We suppose the aphids manipulate galls to their advantage, and galls lessen competition by functioning as a medium between the aphids and their host plants.