Login

GPC Members Login
If you have any problems or have forgotten your login please contact [email protected]


Scientists unlock planthoppers' role in rice stripe virus reproduction

Recently, researchers from the Institute of Zoology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have discovered how a severe rice virus reproduces inside the small brown planthopper, a major carrier of the virus, and have published this work in eLIFE.

Rice stripe virus (RSV) causes major damage to rice crops each year. The study could inform future strategies for controlling the spread of this and other viruses that can lead to devastating effects on rice, wheat, cotton and other crops.

"Most plant viruses depend on insects to carry them between plants, and many plant viruses can reproduce inside the cells of these carrier insects, or 'vectors', without actually harming them," said CUI Feng, a professor of zoology.

"RSV, one of the most notorious plant viruses, is carried by the small brown planthopper and, once inside the cells, manages to achieve a balance with the insect's immune system."

Viral infections in animal hosts activate a pathway by which a type of enzyme, called c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), is signalled to respond. But how exactly viruses regulate this pathway in vectors remains an open question and CUI said the answer would provide important clues for intervening in the spread of plant viruses.

To address this question, CUI and her team explored the effect of RSV on the JNK signalling pathway in the small brown planthopper. By protein-protein interaction and gene expression interference assays, they found that the virus activates the pathway in various ways, but especially through the interaction of a planthopper protein called G protein pathway suppressor 2 (GPS2), and a viral protein called capsid protein.

"The interaction between these two proteins promotes RSV reproduction inside the planthopper, ultimately leading to disease outbreak when the insect carries the virus among rice crops," says WANG Wei, a postdoctoral researcher.

"We discovered that RSV infection increased the level of another protein called Tumor Necrosis Factor-α (TNF-α) and decreased the level of GPS2 in the insect vector. The virus capsid, which stores all of RSV's genetic material, competitively binds GPS2 to stop it from inhibiting the JNK activation machinery. JNK activation then promotes RSV replication in the vector, while inhibiting this pathway causes a significant reduction in virus production, therefore delaying disease outbreak in plants."

The findings suggest that inhibiting the JNK pathway, either by lowering JNK expression, strengthening interactions with GPS2 or weakening the effects of TNF-a, could be beneficial for rice agriculture.

"Such inhibition could be achieved through breeding or other means of genetic modification," WANG said. "In some cases, it could be possible to administer the appropriate chemical compounds to rice plants to reduce the spread of RSV."

Read the paper: The c-Jun N-terminal kinase pathway of a vector insect is activated by virus capsid protein and promotes viral replication.

Article source: Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Image credit: IOZ

News

Disease-resistant apples perform better than old favorites

You may not find them in the produce aisle yet, but it's only a matter of time before new disease-resistant apple cultivars overtake favorites like Honeycrisp in popularity, according to a University of Illinois apple expert.


Microbiome transplants provide disease resistance in critically endangered Hawaiian plant

Transplanting wild microbes from healthy related plants can make a native Hawaiian plant healthier and likelier to survive in wild according to new research from The Amend Laboratory in the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa (UHM) Botany Department and the O'ahu Army Natural Resources Program (OANRP). Professor Anthony Amend and postdoctoral researcher Geoff Zahn used microbes to restore the health of a critically endangered Hawaiian plant that, until now, had been driven to extinction in the wild and only survived in managed greenhouses under heavy doses of fungicide.


Sun's role in mitigating fungal disease of mango fruit

Mango fruits play host to some economically damaging fungal diseases, especially during ripening and storage; but mango growers and suppliers have a new ray of hope...in the form of sunlight.