Link to home

Advances in Plant Virus Evolution: Translating Evolutionary Insights into Better Disease Management

October 2011 , Volume 101 , Number  10
Pages  1,136 - 1,148

R. Acosta-Leal, S. Duffy, Z. Xiong, R. W. Hammond, and S. F. Elena

First author: Texas AgriLife Research (Texas A&M University System), Amarillo 79106; second author: Siobain Duffy. Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 14 College Farm Road, New Brunswick 08901; third author: Division of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Arizona, Forbes 303, Tucson 85721; fourth author: U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, Molecular Plant Pathology Laboratory, 10300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD 20705; and fifth author: Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Plantas (CSIC-UPV), Campus UPV CPI 8E, Ingeniero Fausto Elio s/n, 46022 València, Spain.

Go to article:
Accepted for publication 28 April 2011.

Recent studies in plant virus evolution are revealing that genetic structure and behavior of virus and viroid populations can explain important pathogenic properties of these agents, such as host resistance breakdown, disease severity, and host shifting, among others. Genetic variation is essential for the survival of organisms. The exploration of how these subcellular parasites generate and maintain a certain frequency of mutations at the intra- and inter-host levels is revealing novel molecular virus–plant interactions. They emphasize the role of host environment in the dynamic genetic composition of virus populations. Functional genomics has identified host factors that are transcriptionally altered after virus infections. The analyses of these data by means of systems biology approaches are uncovering critical plant genes specifically targeted by viruses during host adaptation. Also, a next-generation resequencing approach of a whole virus genome is opening new avenues to study virus recombination and the relationships between intra-host virus composition and pathogenesis. Altogether, the analyzed data indicate that systematic disruption of some specific parameters of evolving virus populations could lead to more efficient ways of disease prevention, eradication, or tolerable virus–plant coexistence.

Additional keywords: bottleneck, epistasis, fitness, metagenomics, mutation rate, recombination, robustness, transcriptome.

© 2011 The American Phytopathological Society