University of Cambridge > > Plant Sciences Research Seminars > The roles of cucumber mosaic virus proteins in modifying plant-aphid interactions in tobacco

The roles of cucumber mosaic virus proteins in modifying plant-aphid interactions in tobacco

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Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) is the plant virus with the broadest host range. CMV is transmissible by more than 80 aphid species in a non-persistent manner. The CMV genome encodes five proteins: the 1a replication protein; the 2a replication protein; the 2b counter-defence protein; the coat protein, and movement protein (MP). On Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco) plants that were infected with a CMV mutant that was unable to produce the 2b protein (CMV∆2b), there were lower rates of aphid (Myzus persicae) survival and colony growth compared with the rates on plants infected wild-type CMV or on mock-inoculated plants. This suggests that on tobacco, CMV infection enhances aphid performance. It also suggested that one of the CMV proteins that were expressed by CMV ∆2b could act as elicitors of anti-aphid resistance in tobacco but that during a wild-type CMV infection, the 2b protein inhibits this elicitation of aphid resistance. My project focuses on identifying the CMV gene product(s) that elicit defensive responses in tobacco against aphids. I generated transgenic tobacco plants expressing CMV protein(s) and used them to assess aphid-plant interactions. I found that on transgenic tobacco plants expressing CMV MP , individual aphids have lower growth rate and form smaller colonies. Interestingly, whilst CMV infection fosters aphid survival on tobacco, it does the opposite on Arabidopsis where it induces aphid resistance. This indicates that CMV , a plant virus with a broad host range, has plant species-specific effects on host-aphid interactions. The potential epidemiological implications of this will be discussed.

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

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