Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Texas A&M University, 2132 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843, U.S.A.
Viral diseases cause significant losses in global agricultural production, yet little is known about grass antiviral defense mechanisms. We previously reported on host immune responses triggered by Panicum mosaic virus (PMV) and its satellite virus (SPMV) in the model C3 grass Brachypodium distachyon. To aid comparative analyses of C3 and C4 grass antiviral defenses, here, we establish B. distachyon and Setaria viridis (a C4 grass) as compatible hosts for seven grass-infecting viruses, including PMV and SPMV, Brome mosaic virus, Barley stripe mosaic virus, Maize mild mottle virus, Sorghum yellow banding virus, Wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV), and Foxtail mosaic virus (FoMV). Etiological and molecular characterization of the fourteen grass-virus pathosystems showed evidence for conserved crosstalk among salicylic acid (SA), jasmonic acid, and ethylene pathways in B. distachyon and S. viridis. Strikingly, expression of PHYTOALEXIN DEFICIENT4, an upstream modulator of SA signaling, was consistently suppressed during most virus infections in B. distachyon and S. viridis. Hierarchical clustering analyses further identified unique antiviral responses triggered by two morphologically similar viruses, FoMV and WSMV, and uncovered other host-dependent effects. Together, the results of this study establish B. distachyon and S. viridis as models for the analysis of plant-virus interactions and provide the first framework for conserved and unique features of C3 and C4 grass antiviral defenses.