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Cucumber mosaic virus promotes its transmission by manipulating plant-insect interactions

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Most plant viruses are dependent on insect vectors for plant-plant transmission. The ability of viruses to indirectly control vector behavior through manipulation of host biochemistry may be a major factor in determining the success of virus transmission. While previous studies have shown that vector performance is altered on infected plants, the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. We found that Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) infection of Arabidopsis thaliana induced resistance to its vector, the peach-potato aphid (Myzus persicae). This was predominantly due to increased biosynthesis of the aphid feeding deterrent 4-methyl-indol3-ylmethyl glucosinolate (4MI3M). CMV is vectored by aphids in a non-persistent manner and as it may be acquired and inoculated with a single aphid probe, feeding deterrence is an extremely effective mechanism in ensuring onward virus transmission. The CMV 2b RNA silencing suppressor was partially responsible for this, however it was not the only viral elicitor of anti-aphid resistance. Aphids feeding on transgenic plants constitutively expressing 2b and mutant plants defective in miRNA-regulation of gene expression showed no reluctance to feed yet these plants were toxic to the aphids. We therefore propose that CMV has 2b-independent and 2b-dependent mechanisms of inducing aphid resistance that confer feeding deterrence and toxicity respectively. In CMV -infected plants, the 2b-independent processes dominate since feeding deterrence masks the antibiotic effect conferred through disruption of silencing by 2b and we propose that this facilitates virus transmission.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Research Seminars series.

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