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Bruchins: Insect-derived plant regulators that stimulate neoplasm formation

  • Robert P. Doss
  • James E. Oliver
  • William M. Proebsting
  • Sandra W. Potter
  • SreyReath Kuy
  • Stephen L. Clement
  • R. Thomas Williamson
  • John R. Carney
  • E. David DeVilbiss
The National Academy of Sciences
Publication Date
May 16, 2000


Pea weevil (Bruchus pisorum L.) oviposition on pods of specific genetic lines of pea (Pisum sativum L.) stimulates cell division at the sites of egg attachment. As a result, tumor-like growths of undifferentiated cells (neoplasms) develop beneath the egg. These neoplasms impede larval entry into the pod. This unique form of induced resistance is conditioned by the Np allele and mediated by a recently discovered class of natural products that we have identified from both cowpea weevil (Callosobruchus maculatus F.) and pea weevil. These compounds, which we refer to as “bruchins,” are long-chain α,ω-diols, esterified at one or both oxygens with 3-hydroxypropanoic acid. Bruchins are potent plant regulators, with application of as little as 1 fmol (0.5 pg) causing neoplastic growth on pods of all of the pea lines tested. The bruchins are, to our knowledge, the first natural products discovered with the ability to induce neoplasm formation when applied to intact plants.

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