Gall formation is induced by an insect, which changes normal plant development and results in the formation of a new organ, following distinct stages of metabolic and developmental alterations. Research on mechanisms of recognition and responses to biotic stress may help to understand the interactions between galling aphids and their host plants. In this study, Tetraneura ulmi L. (Hemiptera: Eriosomatinae) galls and Ulmus pumila L. (Rosales: Ulmaceae) leaves were used as a model. Concentrations of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, electrolyte leakage, as well as the activity of ascorbate peroxidase, guaiacol peroxidase, and catalase (CAT) were determined in galls and two parts of galled leaves (with and without visible damage). Biochemical analyses were performed at three stages of gall development: initial, fully developed, and mature galls. A slight increment in H2O2 content with a strong enhancement of ascorbate peroxidase and CAT activities were observed in galls and galled leaves in the first stage. In subsequent stages of gall development, a progressing increase in H2O2 production and cell membrane damage was associated with declining antioxidant enzyme activities, especially in gall tissues. The stages of gall development are likely to be part of cell death triggered by aphid feeding. It seems that the gall is the result of a biochemical struggle between the host plant and the gall inducer.
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Vol. 47 • No. 4