Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) is a begomovirus infecting tomato cultures worldwide. TYLCV is transmitted to plants by the whitefly Bemisia tabaci. Once in the plant, the virus is subjected to attack by the host-plant defences, which may include sequestration in aggregates, proteolysis, ubiquitination, 26S proteasome degradation and autophagy. Elucidating how the virus avoids destruction will make it possible to understand infection and possibly devise countermeasures.
The development of high-throughput technologies allows for evaluating gene expression at the whole-genome level. Together with proteomic and metabolomic studies, these analyses have resulted in the identification of plant genes whose function or expression is altered as a consequence of pathogen attacks. Members of the Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) complex are among the most important pathogens impairing production of agricultural crops worldwide. To understand how these geminiviruses subjugate plant defenses, and to devise counter-measures, it is essential to identify the host genes affected by infection and to determine their role in susceptible and resistant plants. We have used a reverse genetics approach based on Tobacco rattle virus-induced gene silencing (TRV-VIGS) to uncover genes involved in viral infection of susceptible plants, and to identify genes underlying virus resistance. To identify host genes with a role in geminivirus infection, we have engineered a Nicotiana benthamiana line, coined 2IRGFP, which over-expresses GFP upon virus infection. With this system, we have achieved an accurate description of the dynamics of virus replication in space and time. Upon silencing selected N. benthamiana genes previously shown to be related to host response to geminivirus infection, we have identified eighteen genes involved in a wide array of cellular processes. Plant genes involved in geminivirus resistance were studied by comparing two tomato lines: one resistant (R), the other susceptible (S) to the virus. Sixty-nine genes preferentially expressed in R tomatoes were identified by screening cDNA libraries from infected and uninfected R and S genotypes. Out of the 25 genes studied so far, the silencing of five led to the total collapse of resistance, suggesting their involvement in the resistance gene network. This review of our results indicates that TRV-VIGS is an exquisite reverse genetics tool that may provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying plant infection and resistance to infection by begomoviruses.
The protein arginine methyltransferaseas (PRMTs) family is conserved from yeast to human, and regulates stability, localization and activity of proteins. We have characterized deletion strains corresponding to genes encoding for PRMT1/3/5 (designated amt-1, amt-3 and skb-1, respectively) in Neurospora crassa. Deletion of PRMT-encoding genes conferred altered Arg-methylated protein profiles, as determined immunologically. ?amt-1 exhibited reduced hyphal elongation rates (70% of wild type) and increased susceptibility to the ergosterol biosynthesis inhibitor voriconazole. In ?amt-3, distances between branches were significantly longer than the wild type, suggesting this gene is required for proper regulation of hyphal branching. Deletion of skb-1 resulted in hyper conidiation (2-fold of the wild type) and increased tolerance to the chitin synthase inhibitor polyoxin D. Inactivation of two Type I PRMTs (amt-1 and amt-3) conferred changes in both asymmetric as well as symmetric protein methylation profiles, suggesting either common substrates and/or cross-regulation of different PRMTs. The PRMTs in N. crassa apparently share cellular pathways which were previously reported to be regulated by the NDR (Nuclear DBF2-related) kinase COT1. Using co-immunprecipitation experiments (with MYC-tagged proteins), we have shown that SKB1 and COT1 physically interacted and the abundance of the 75 kDa MYC::COT1 isoform was increased in a ?skb-1 background. On the basis of immunological detection, we propose the possible involvement of PRMTs in Arg-methylation of COT1.
A functional capsid protein (CP) is essential for host plant infection and insect transmission of Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) and other monopartite begomoviruses. We have previously shown that TYLCV CP specifically interacts with the heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) of the virus insect vector, Bemisia tabaci. Here we demonstrate that during the development of tomato plant infection with TYLCV, a significant amount of HSP70 shifts from a soluble form into insoluble aggregates. CP and HSP70 co-localize in these aggregates, first in the cytoplasm, then in the nucleus of cells associated with the vascular system. CP-HSP70 interaction was demonstrated by co-immunopreciptation in cytoplasmic - but not in nuclear extracts from leaf and stem. Inhibition of HSP70 expression by quercetin caused a decrease in the amount of nuclear CP aggregates and a re-localization of a GFP-CP fusion protein from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. HSP70 inactivation resulted in a decrease of TYLCV DNA levels, demonstrating the role of HSP70 in TYLCV multiplication in planta. The current study reveals for the first time the involvement of plant HSP70 in TYLCV CP intracellular movement. As described earlier, nuclear aggregates contained TYLCV DNA-CP complexes and infectious virions. Showing that HSP70 localizes in these large nuclear aggregates infers that these structures operate as nuclear virus factories.
Middle Eastern countries are major consumers of small grain cereals. Egypt is the biggest bread wheat producer with 7.4 million tons (MT) in 2007, but at the same time, it had to import 5.9 MT. Jordan and Israel import almost all the grains they consume. Viruses are the major pathogens that impair grain production in the Middle East, infecting in some years more than 80% of the crop. They are transmitted in nonpersistent, semipersistent, and persistent manners by insects (aphids, leafhoppers, and mites), and through soil and seeds. Hence, cereal viruses have to be controlled, not only in the field but also through the collaborative efforts of the plant quarantine services inland and at the borders, involving all the Middle Eastern countries. Diagnosis of cereal viruses may include symptom observation, immunological technologies such as ELISA using polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies raised against virus coat protein expressed in bacteria, and molecular techniques such as PCR, microarrays, and deep sequencing. In this chapter, we explore the different diagnoses, typing, and detection techniques of cereal viruses available to the Middle Eastern countries. We highlight the plant quarantine service and the prevention methods. Finally, we review the breeding efforts for virus resistance, based on conventional selection and genetic engineering.
Dysfunction of the Neurospora crassa nuclear Dbf2-related kinase COT1 leads to cessation of tip extension and massive induction of new sites of growth. To determine the role phosphorylation plays in COT1 function, we mutated COT1 residues corresponding to positions of highly conserved nuclear Dbf2-related phosphorylation sites. Analyses of the point-mutation cot-1 strains (mimicking non- and constitutively phosphorylated states) indicate the involvement of COT1 phosphorylation in the regulation of hyphal elongation and branching as well as asexual development by altering cell wall integrity and actin organization. Phosphorylation of COT1s activation segment (at Ser417) is required for proper in vitro kinase activity, but has only a limited effect on hyphal growth. In marked contrast, even though phosphorylation of the C-terminal hydrophobic motif (at Thr589) is crucial for all COT1 functions in vivo, the lack of Thr589 phosphorylation did not significantly affect in vitro COT1 kinase activity. Nevertheless, its regulatory role has been made evident by the significant increase observed in COT1 kinase activity when this residue was substituted in a manner mimicking constitutive phosphorylation. We conclude that COT1 regulates elongation and branching in an independent manner, which is determined by its phosphorylation state.
To identify genes involved in resistance of tomato to Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV), cDNA libraries from lines resistant (R) and susceptible (S) to the virus were compared. The hexose transporter LeHT1 was found to be expressed preferentially in R tomato plants. The role of LeHT1 in the establishment of TYLCV resistance was studied in R plants where LeHT1 has been silenced using Tobacco rattle virus-induced gene silencing (TRV VIGS). Following TYLCV inoculation, LeHT1-silenced R plants showed inhibition of growth and enhanced virus accumulation and spread. In addition, a necrotic response was observed along the stem and petioles of infected LeHT1-silenced R plants, but not on infected not-silenced R plants. This response was specific of R plants since it was absent in infected LeHT1-silenced S plants. Necrosis had several characteristics of programmed cell death (PCD): DNA from necrotic tissues presented a PCD-characteristic ladder pattern, the amount of a JNK analogue increased, and production of reactive oxygen was identified by DAB staining. A similar necrotic reaction along stem and petioles was observed in LeHT1-silenced R plants infected with the DNA virus Bean dwarf mosaic virus and the RNA viruses Cucumber mosaic virus and Tobacco mosaic virus. These results constitute the first evidence for a necrotic response backing natural resistance to TYLCV in tomato, confirming that plant defense is organized in multiple layers. They demonstrate that the hexose transporter LeHT1 is essential for the expression of natural resistance against TYLCV and its expression correlates with inhibition of virus replication and movement.
The Integrase (Int) site-specific recombinase of coliphage HK022 catalyzes integrative and excisive DNA recombination between two attachment (att) sites in human cells without the need to supply the accessory proteins Integration Host Factor (IHF) and Excisionase (Xis). Previous work has shown that under these conditions, reactions in cis, i.e. both att sites are located on the same chromosome, can be detected without selection. However, recombination in trans, i.e. one att site positioned on a chromosome and the other on an episomal vector, was detected only after selection. Here we show that optimization of the int-HK022 gene for human codon usage according to the GeneOptimizer software algorithm, as well as addition of accessory proteins IHF and Xis improve the recombination efficiencies in human cells, such that recombinants in a trans reaction could be detected without selection.
Transgenesis offers many ways to obtain virus-resistant plants. However, in most cases resistance is against a single virus or viral strain. We have taken a novel approach based on the ability of a whitefly endosymbiotic GroEL to bind viruses belonging to several genera, in vivo and in vitro. We have expressed the GroEL gene in Nicotiana benthamiana plants, postulating that upon virus inoculation, GroEL will bind to virions, thereby interfering with pathogenesis. The transgenic plants were inoculated with the begomovirus tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) and the cucumovirus cucumber mosaic virus (CMV), both of which interacted with GroEL in vitro, and with the trichovirus grapevine virus A (GVA) and the tobamovirus tobacco mosaic virus (TMV), which did not. While the transgenic plants inoculated with TYLCV and CMV presented a high level of tolerance, those inoculated with GVA and TMV were susceptible. The amounts of virus in tolerant transgenic plants was lower by three orders of magnitude than those in non-transgenic plants; in comparison, the amounts of virus in susceptible transgenic plants were similar to those in non-transgenic plants. Leaf extracts of the tolerant plants contained GroEL-virus complexes. Hence, tolerance was correlated with trapping of viruses in planta. This study demonstrated that multiple resistances to viruses belonging to several different taxonomic genera could be achieved. Moreover, it might be hypothesized that plants expressing GroEL will be tolerant to those viruses that bind to GroEL in vitro, such as members of the genera Begomovirus, Cucumovirus, Ilarvirus, Luteovirus, and Tospovirus.
During infection, many viruses induce cellular remodeling, resulting in the formation of insoluble aggregates/inclusions, usually containing viral structural proteins. Identification of aggregates has become a useful diagnostic tool for certain viral infections. There is wide variety of viral aggregates, which differ by their location, size, content and putative function. The role of aggregation in the context of a specific virus is often poorly understood, especially in the case of plant viruses. The aggregates are utilized by viruses to house a large complex of proteins of both viral and host origin to promote virus replication, translation, intra- and intercellular transportation. Aggregated structures may protect viral functional complexes from the cellular degradation machinery. Alternatively, the activation of host defense mechanisms may involve sequestration of virus components in aggregates, followed by their neutralization as toxic for the host cell. The diversity of virus-induced aggregates in mammalian and plant cells is the subject of this review.
Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) coat protein (CP) accumulated in tomato leaves during infection. The CP was immuno-detected in the phloem associated cells. At the early stages of infection, punctate signals were detected in the cytoplasm, while in the later stages aggregates of increasing size were localized in cytoplasm and nuclei. Sedimentation of protein extracts through sucrose gradients confirmed that progress of infection was accompanied by the formation of CP aggregates of increasing size. Genomic ssDNA was found in the cytoplasm and in the nucleus, while the dsDNA replicative form was exclusively associated with the nucleus. CP-DNA complexes were detected by immuno-capture PCR in nuclear and cytoplasmic large aggregates. Nuclear aggregates contained infectious particles transmissible to test plants by whiteflies. In contrast to susceptible tomatoes, the formation of large CP aggregates in resistant plants was delayed. By experimentally changing the level of resistance/susceptibility of plants, we showed that maintenance of midsized CP aggregates was associated with resistance, while large aggregates where characteristic of susceptibility. We propose that sequestering of virus CP into midsized aggregates and retarding the formation of large insoluble aggregates containing infectious particles is part of the response of resistant plants to TYLCV.
The whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) is a major cosmopolitan pest capable of feeding on hundreds of plant species and transmits several major plant viruses. The most important and widespread viruses vectored by B. tabaci are in the genus Begomovirus, an unusual group of plant viruses owing to their small, single-stranded DNA genome and geminate particle morphology. B. tabaci transmits begomoviruses in a persistent circulative nonpropagative manner. Evidence suggests that the whitefly vector encounters deleterious effects following Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) ingestion and retention. However, little is known about the molecular and cellular basis underlying these coevolved begomovirus-whitefly interactions. To elucidate these interactions, we undertook a study using B. tabaci microarrays to specifically describe the responses of the transcriptomes of whole insects and dissected midguts following TYLCV acquisition and retention. Microarray, real-time PCR, and Western blot analyses indicated that B. tabaci heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) specifically responded to the presence of the monopartite TYLCV and the bipartite Squash leaf curl virus. Immunocapture PCR, protein coimmunoprecipitation, and virus overlay protein binding assays showed in vitro interaction between TYLCV and HSP70. Fluorescence in situ hybridization and immunolocalization showed colocalization of TYLCV and the bipartite Watermelon chlorotic stunt virus virions and HSP70 within midgut epithelial cells. Finally, membrane feeding of whiteflies with anti-HSP70 antibodies and TYLCV virions showed an increase in TYLCV transmission, suggesting an inhibitory role for HSP70 in virus transmission, a role that might be related to protection against begomoviruses while translocating in the whitefly.
To discover genes involved in tomato resistance to Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV), we previously compared cDNA libraries from susceptible (S) and resistant (R) tomato lines. Among the genes preferentially expressed in R plants and upregulated by TYLCV infection was a gene encoding a lipocalin-like protein. This gene was termed Solanum lycopersicum virus resistant/susceptible lipocalin (SlVRSLip). The SlVRSLip structural gene sequence of R and S plants was identical. SlVRSLip was expressed in leaves during a 15-day window starting about 40 days after sowing (20 days after planting). SlVRSLip was upregulated by Bemisia tabaci (the TYLCV vector) feeding on R plant leaves, and even more strongly upregulated following whitefly-mediated TYLCV inoculation. Silencing of SlVRSLip in R plants led to the collapse of resistance upon TYLCV inoculation and to a necrotic response along the stem and petioles accompanied by ROS production. Contrary to previously identified tomato lipocalin gene DQ222981, SlVRSLip was not regulated by cold, nor was it regulated by heat or salt. The expression of SlVRSLip was inhibited in R plants in which the hexose transporter gene LeHT1 was silenced. In contrast, the expression of LeHT1 was not inhibited in SlVRSLip-silenced R plants. Hence, in the hierarchy of the gene network conferring TYLCV resistance, SlVRSLip is downstream of LeHT1. Silencing of another gene involved in resistance, a Permease-I like protein, did not affect the expression of SlVRSLip and LeHT1; expression of the Permease was not affected by silencing SlVRSLip or LeHT1, suggesting that it does not belong to the same network. The triple co-silencing of SlVRSLip, LeHT1 and Permease provoked an immediate cessation of growth of R plants upon infection and the accumulation of large amounts of virus. SlVRSLip is the first lipocalin-like gene shown to be involved in resistance to a plant virus.
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