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A Developmentally Linked, Dramatic, and Transient Loss of Virus from Roots of Arabidopsis thaliana Plants Infected by Either of Two RNA Viruses

December 2007 , Volume 20 , Number  12
Pages  1,589 - 1,595

Pablo Lunello, Carmen Mansilla, Flora Sánchez, and Fernando Ponz

Centro de Biotecnología y Genómica de Plantas (CBGP, UPM-INIA). Autopista A-6, km 7. 28040 Madrid, Spain

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Accepted 24 July 2007.

Possible effects of host developmental stage on the amount of virus present in systemically infected plant tissues hitherto have received little attention. In this study, the pattern of virus accumulation over the plant lifespan has been examined in systemically invaded tissues of Arabidopsis thaliana infected by either of two distinct (+)RNA viruses: Turnip mosaic virus, a member of Potyvirus, and Oilseed rape mosaic virus, a member of Tobamovirus. Quantitative analyses of virus coat protein and virus genomic RNA in roots versus aerial plant parts revealed generally sinusoidal temporal patterns of virus accumulation. In noninoculated leaves, a time period was found during which no virus accumulation was detected. This period was coincident with the approximately 7 days of inflorescence bud formation and differentiation. In roots, virion content reached high levels a few days after inoculation, dropping dramatically during the period of bud formation and quickly recovering after it. These results, together with electron microscopy observations, are consistent with loss of virions due to disassembly. Fluorescence observations of green fluorescent protein-tagged virus-infected root tissue also were consistent with a net loss of virus-specified proteins. Inoculations performed after the emergence of the inflorescence and on A. thaliana flowering-time mutants support the temporal link between observed changes in virus content and inflorescence bud formation. Different host-involving biochemical processes can be invoked to provide mechanistic clues, but no one of them alone seems sufficient to explain the complex patterns of tight temporal regulation of virus accumulation observed in these experiments.

Additional keywords:developmental stage, infected roots.

© 2007 The American Phytopathological Society