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: Life's extremists may be an untapped source of antibacterial drugs

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

New method for quickly determining antibiotic resistance

2 hours ago

Scientists from Uppsala University, the Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab) in Stockholm and Uppsala University Hospital have developed a new method of rapidly identifying which bacteria are causing an infection and ...

Cohesin molecule safeguards cell division

Nov 21, 2014

The cohesin molecule ensures the proper distribution of DNA during cell division. Scientists at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna can now prove the concept of its carabiner-like ...

Nail stem cells prove more versatile than press ons

Nov 21, 2014

There are plenty of body parts that don't grow back when you lose them. Nails are an exception, and a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) reveals some of the r ...

Scientists develop 3-D model of regulator protein bax

Nov 21, 2014

Scientists at Freie Universität Berlin, the University of Tubingen, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) provide a new 3D model of the protein Bax, a key regulator of cell death. When active, Bax ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.