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Jacquie Bede

Dr Jacqueline C. Bede
Associate Professor
Phone: 514-398-7860
Fax: 514-398-7897
jacqueline [dot] bede [at] mcgill [dot] ca (E-mail)

Research interests

Each year, billions of agricultural and forestry dollars are lost to insect pests in the form of crop and forest damages and expenses in controlling insects. However, if we had a better understanding of how plants defend themselves, this would allow us to design insect control strategies to enhance the endogenous defense responses of the plant.

Biological Systems

 In my research, I am looking at the defense responses of the legume Medicago truncatula and the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana to herbivory by generalist caterpillars of the beet armyworm, Spodoptera exigua. Research in my laboratory also focuses on how these caterpillars modulate the plant’s induced defense responses and detoxify plant-derived compounds.

In collaboration with Don Windsor at the Smithsonian Institute of Tropical Research (McGill Neotropical Environment Option), I also investigate Neotropical plant-insect interactions, particularly those involving beetle and caterpillar herbivory on cycad species.

Molecular characterization

To minimize losses due to insect pests, we must understand how plants co-ordinate their responses to caterpillar herbivory and how insects manage to subvert these induced defenses. Since plants often interact with multiple organisms simultaneously, they need to prioritize their response to act appropriately to different environmental stresses. This is achieved through synergistic or antagonistic interactions between phytohormone signaling pathways; a process known as hormone cross-talk. Generalist noctuid caterpillars have taken advantage of this crosstalk and activate some pathways to delay or suppress plant induced defenses. By investigating how plants regulate their defenses pathways at the hormone, gene, protein and metabolic levels, we hope to gain insight into these plant-caterpillar interactions.

Present lab members:

Fanping Cai (M.Sc.)
Nicolas Chatel-Launay (M.Sc.)
Ji Jinyuan (M.Sc.)
Yifan Liu (undergraduate)
Jamuna Paudel (Ph.D.)
Alberto Prado (Ph.D.)

Selected Publications

Undergraduate and graduate student co-authors are in bold


Lan, Z, Krosse, S, Achard, P, van Dam, NM, Bede, JC. 2014. DELLA proteins modulate Arabidopsis defenses induced in response to caterpillar herbivory. Journal of Experimental Botany 65: 571-583.

Prado, A, Sierra, A, Windsor, D, Bede, JC (accepted American Journal of Botany) Leaf traits and herbivory of a tropical gymnosperm, Zamia stevensonii (Zamiaceae).

Paudel, J, Copley, T, Amirizian, A, Prado, A, Bede JC. 2013. Arabidopsis redox status in response to caterpillar herbivory. Frontiers in Plant Science 4: 113.

Thivierge, K, Prado, A, Driscoll, BT, Bonneil, E, Thibault, P, Bede, JC. 2010. Caterpillar- and salivary-specific modifications of plant proteins. Journal of Proteome Research 9: 5887-5895.

Weech, MH, Chapleau, M, Pan, L, Ide, C, Bede, JC. 2008. Caterpillar saliva interferes with induced Arabidopsis thaliana defense responses via the systemic acquired resistance pathway. Journal of Experimental Botany 59: 2437-2448.


Afshar, K, Fikru Dube, F, Najafabadi, HS, Bonneil, E, Thibault, P, Salavati, R, Bede, JC. 2013. Insights into the insect salivary gland proteome: Diet-associated changes in caterpillar labial salivary proteins. Journal of Insect Physiology 59: 351-366.

Prado, A, Ledezma, J, Rios-Cubila, L, Bede, JC, Windsor, DM. 2011. Two genera of Aulacoscelinae beetles reflexively bleed azoxyglycosides found in their host cycads. Journal of Chemical Ecology 27: 736-740.

 Afshar, K, Dufresne, PJ, Pan, L, Merkx-Jacques, M, Bede, JC. 2010. Diet-specific salivary gene expression in caterpillars of the beet armyworm, Spodoptera exigua. Journal of Insect Physiology 56: 1798-1806.

Bede, JC, McNeil, JN, Tobe, SS. 2007. The role of neuropeptides in caterpillar nutritional ecology. Peptides 28:185-186.