Open Access Research article

Transcriptomic and proteomic analysis of a compatible tomato-aphid interaction reveals a predominant salicylic acid-dependent plant response

Valentina Coppola1, Mariangela Coppola1, Mariapina Rocco2, Maria Cristina Digilio1, Chiara D’Ambrosio3, Giovanni Renzone3, Rosanna Martinelli4, Andrea Scaloni3, Francesco Pennacchio1, Rosa Rao1* and Giandomenico Corrado1

Author Affiliations

1 Dipartimento di Agraria, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, 80055 Portici, NA, Italy

2 Università degli Studi del Sannio, 82100 Benevento, Italy

3 Istituto per il Sistema Produzione Animale in Ambiente Mediterraneo-CNR, 80147 Napoli, Italy

4 CEINGE, 80145 Napoli, Italy

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BMC Genomics 2013, 14:515  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-515

Published: 29 July 2013



Aphids are among the most destructive pests in temperate climates, causing significant damage on several crops including tomato. We carried out a transcriptomic and proteomic study to get insights into the molecular mechanisms and dynamics of the tomato response to the Macrosyphum euphorbiae aphid.


The time course analysis of aphid infestation indicated a complex, dynamic pattern of gene expression. Several biological functions were affected and genes related to the stress and defence response were the most represented. The Gene Ontology categories of the differentially expressed genes (899) and identified proteins (57) indicated that the tomato response is characterized by an increased oxidative stress accompanied by the production of proteins involved in the detoxification of oxygen radicals. Aphids elicit a defense reaction based on the cross-communication of different hormone-related signaling pathways such as those related to the salicylic acid (SA), jasmonic acid (JA), ethylene and brassinosteroids. Among them, the SA-signaling pathway and stress-responsive SA-dependent genes play a dominant role. Furthermore, tomato response is characterized by a reduced accumulation of photosynthetic proteins and a modification of the expression of various cell wall related genes.


Our work allowed a more comprehensive understanding of the signaling events and the defense dynamics of the tomato response to aphids in a compatible interaction and, based on experimental data, a model of the tomato–aphid molecular interaction was proposed. Considering the rapid advancement of tomato genomics, this information will be important for the development of new protection strategies.

Solanum lycopersicum; Macrosiphum euphorbiae; Plant-insect interactions; Defense; Salicylic acid; Jasmonic acid