Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum Linn.) is widely cultivated in China. The polyphagous insect Adelphocoris suturalis (Jakovlev) is a serious insect pest in cotton growing regions. Plants have evolved sophisticated systems to cope with herbivore attacks. However, the cotton defense mechanisms induced by A. suturalis feeding have lagged behind. We carried out untargeted proteomic analysis using the iTARQ technique and metabolomics based on LC-MS/MS analysis of cotton leaves fed upon by A. suturalis. Proteomic analysis identified 775 upregulated proteins and 477 downregulated proteins in plants that were infested by A. sututralis compared to the controls. Metabolomic analysis identified 50 differentially expressed metabolites in the positive ion mode and 14 in the negative ion mode compared to the controls. The tryptophan metabolism pathway was significantly changed in both the positive and negative ion mode in the metabolomics analysis. The alpha-linolenic acid pathway was significantly changed in both the proteomic and metabolomics analyses. Furthermore, the result was validated by RT-qPCR analysis of 5 related genes involved in alpha-linolenic acid pathway. These results indicate that tryptophan metabolism and the alpha-linolenic acid pathway may be important in cotton defense against herbivores and would enhance our understanding of plant defenses induced by A. sututrali feeding.
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