Mi-1.2, an R gene for aphid resistance in tomato, has direct negative effects on a zoophytophagous biocontrol agent, Orius insidiosus
Mi-1.2 is a single dominant gene in tomato that confers race-specific resistance against certain phloem-feeding herbivores including aphids, whiteflies, psyllids, and root-knot nematodes. Few prior studies have considered the potential non-target effects of race-specific resistance genes (R genes), and this paper evaluates the compatibility of Mi-mediated resistance in tomato with a beneficial zoophytophagous predator, Orius insidiosus (Say). In addition to preying on aphids and other pests, this piercing-sucking insect also feeds from the xylem, epidermis, and/or mesophyll, and oviposits within plant tissues. Comparison of O. insidiosus confined to isogenic tomato plants with and without Mi-1.2 revealed that immatures of O. insidiosus had lower survival on resistant plants even when the immatures were provisioned with prey that did not feed on the host plant. Molecular gut content analysis confirmed that adults and immatures of O. insidiosus feed on both resistant (Mi-1.2+) and susceptible (Mi-1.2-) genotypes, and bioassays suggest that resistance does not affect oviposition rates, plant sampling, or prey acceptance by O. insidiosus adults. These results demonstrate a direct negative impact of R-gene-mediated host plant resistance on a non-target beneficial species, and reveal that Mi-mediated resistance can impact organisms that do not feed on phloem sap. Through laser capture microdissection and RT-PCR, Mi-1.2 transcripts were detected in the epidermis and mesophyll as well as the phloem of tomato plants, consistent with our observations that Mi-mediated resistance is active outside the phloem. These results suggest that the mode of action and potential ecological impacts of Mi-mediated resistance are broader than previously assumed.