Infections caused by closely related plant viruses differentially alter plant developmental pattern


Viruses often cause symptoms in infected plants. Yellows, mosaics, or dwarfisms are well known traits associated with virus infections. But viruses are also able to alter significantly the plant developmental pattern, an effect not so well studied so far. In this work the Group of Plant Virus Biotechnology of the CBGP has coordinated an international study showing how two different, but closely related viruses (strains of the same virus species), alter host plant development in almost opposite directions. A single viral protein has been identified as the main responsible for these alterations in each of the strains, in addition to the plant genes altered in both processes and their position within a global plant protein interaction map.

These results show the possibility of externally altering the plant developmental pattern without a strict dependence on the availability of mutants or plants more drastically modified genetically. Although this application is still not near, the results of this work show that it is possible. Viruses do it. Maybe we will be able to do it too, if we are able to understand sufficiently the system.

A differential alteration in the vascular bundle cell organization of flower stalks infected by the different viral strains (B, C), in comparison with the normal organization of uninfected stalks (A).


Original Paper:

Sánchez, F; Manrique, P; Mansilla, C; Lunello, P; Wang, X; Rodrigo, G; López-González, S; Jenner, C; González-Melendi, P; Elena, SF; Walsh, J; Ponz, F. 2015. "Viral strain-specific differential alterations in Arabidopsis developmental patterns". Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. DOI: 10.1094/MPMI-05-15-0111-R".