Plant pathogens can influence the behavior and performance of insect herbivores. Studies of these associations typically focus on tripartite interactions between a plant host, a plant pathogen, and its insect vector. An unrelated herbivore or pathogen might influence such interactions. This study used a model system consisting of Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV), the psyllid Bactericera cockerelli Sulc, and tomatoes to investigate multipartite interactions among a pathogen, a nonvector, and a plant host, and determine whether shifts in host physiology were behind potential interactions. Additionally, the ability of TMV to affect the success of another pathogen, ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum,’ which is transmitted by the psyllid, was studied. In choice trials, psyllids preferred nearly fourfold noninfected plants to TMV-infected plants. No-choice bioassays demonstrated that there was no difference in psyllid development between TMV-infected and control plants; oviposition was twice as high on control plants. Following inoculation by psyllids, ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ titers were lower in TMVinfected plants than control plants. TMV-infected plants had lower levels of amino acids and sugars but little differences in phenolics and terpenoids, relative to control plants. Possibly, these changes in sugars are associated with a reduction in psyllid attractiveness in TMV-infected tomatoes resulting in decreased infection of ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum.’
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Vol. 44 • No. 4