Viral alliances overcoming plant defenses

Oct 16, 2012

Washington State University researchers have found that viruses will join forces to overcome a plant's defenses and cause more severe infections.

"These findings have important implications in our ability to control these viruses", says Hanu Pappu, Sam Smith Distinguished Professor of Plant Virology and chair of WSU's Department of . "Mixed infections are quite common in the field and now we know that viruses in these mixed infections are helping each other at the to overcome host defenses and possibly lead to the generation of new viruses."

Pappu publishes his findings in the latest issue of the journal . Joining him are PhD student Sudeep Bag and Neena Mitter, an associate professor at Australia's University of Queensland.

The researchers focused on Iris yellow spot virus and Tomato spotted wilt virus after Bag discovered that, when they infect the same plant, they helped each other overcome a plant's defense response. With Mitter's help and sophisticated molecular techniques, Bag found both viruses dramatically changed their , breaking down the plant's defenses and leading to more severe disease. Bag also found that genes from the Tomato spotted wilt virus seemed to "aid and abet" Iris yellow spot virus as it spread throughout the plant and caused more disease.

Growers should take this phenomenon into account, says Pappu, with broader targeting more than one virus and possible variations.

Explore further: How plant cell compartments change with cell growth

More information: The paper, "Complementation between Two Tospoviruses Facilitates the Systemic Movement of a Plant Virus Silencing Suppressor in an Otherwise Restrictive Host," can be found at dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0044803

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Whitefly spreads emerging plant viruses

Jan 18, 2007

A tiny whitefly is responsible for spreading a group of plant viruses that cause devastating disease on food, fiber, and ornamental crops, say plant pathologists with The American Phytopathological Society (APS).

The genetic secrets to jumping the species barrier

Feb 11, 2010

Scientists have pinpointed specific mutations that allow a common plant virus to infect new species, according to research published in the March issue of the Journal of General Virology. Understanding the genetics of the ...

Plant virus spreads by making life easy for crop pests

Oct 30, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- In 752, Japanese Empress Koken wrote a short poem about the summertime yellowing of a field in what is thought to be the first account of a viral plant disease. More than 1,250 years later, ...

Genes identified to protect brassicas from damaging disease

Nov 01, 2007

Scientists have identified a new way to breed brassicas, which include broccoli, cabbage and oilseed rape, resistant to a damaging virus. Their discovery has characterised a form of resistance that appears to be durable, ...

Recommended for you

How plant cell compartments change with cell growth

7 hours ago

A research team led by Kiminori Toyooka from the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science has developed a sophisticated microscopy technique that for the first time captures the detailed movement of ...

Plants can 'switch off' virus DNA

7 hours ago

A team of virologists and plant geneticists at Wageningen UR has demonstrated that when tomato plants contain Ty-1 resistance to the important Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV), parts of the virus DNA ...

A better understanding of cell to cell communication

8 hours ago

Researchers of the ISREC Institute at the School of Life Sciences, EPFL, have deciphered the mechanism whereby some microRNAs are retained in the cell while others are secreted and delivered to neighboring ...

A glimpse at the rings that make cell division possible

8 hours ago

Forming like a blown smoke ring does, a "contractile ring" similar to a tiny muscle pinches yeast cells in two. The division of cells makes life possible, but the actual mechanics of this fundamental process ...

User comments : 0