Plant-synthesized sesquiterpenes play a pivotal role in chemotactic interactions with insects. In Arabidopsis thaliana, FPS2 is involved in the synthesis of cytosolic FDP, a precursor in the sesqueterpene biosynthetic pathway. Bhatia et al. generate transgenic plants over-expressing FPS2 and find that they produce a number of novel sesquiterpenes including E-β-farnesene, which is an alarm pheromone of aphids. Both entrapped volatiles and hydro-distillate extracts of the leaves of transgenic plants trigger perceptible agitation in aphids, suggesting a potential for the development of resistant strains of arabidopsis.
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