University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars > Host Age-dependent Evolution of a Plant RNA Virus

Host Age-dependent Evolution of a Plant RNA Virus

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  • UserProfessor Santiago F. Elena, Instituto de Biologia Integrativa de Sistemas World_link
  • ClockThursday 05 May 2022, 13:00-14:00
  • HouseOnline.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact cjh92.

As organisms age, their metabolism and immunity change, which may result in a different response to pathogens. Therefore, the interaction of a host with its pathogens may vary along the organism’s lifetime. How this interplay between host age and pathogens affects virus evolution hasn’t been thoroughly studies.

In this work, we used the pathosystem Arabidopsis thaliana – Turnip mosaic potyvirus to characterize plant-virus interaction and virus evolution at three developmental stages: vegetative, bolting (transition from vegetative to reproductive) and reproductive growth. We inoculated plants at these stages with two viral strains, one naïve and other well-adapted to A. thaliana. We observed that both viral strains had higher infectivity and induced stronger symptoms in older plants. To study how these differences in the plant-virus interaction may influence virus evolution, we experimentally evolved both strains in each one of the three host stages. After evolution, we observed that the disease progression was faster in all the evolved virus in comparison with the ancestral one. However, viruses evolved in young hosts were selected to have a bigger increase in disease severity. This relative increase of disease severity was higher in the naïve strain than in the well-adapted one. The sequence of the evolved virus genomes showed that all viruses evolved from the naïve strain had mutations in the VPg protein involved in genome amplification, independently of the host stage were viruses evolved. For the viruses evolved from the preadapted strain, that already had fixed mutations in VPg, the mutation pattern was different: viruses evolved in young plants did not have any non-synonymous mutation while bolting and flowered hosts selected for mutations in the NIaPro protease. The virulence of the infection was age-dependent: while all evolved viruses cause a significant reduction in seed production, hosts infected during their reproductive stage produced significatively more offspring than host infected at other developmental stages. Next, we characterized the transcriptional responses of all hosts to infection, finding that despite the biological processes involved in the response are similar against all evolved virus, each host stage has a particular set of genes that are fine-tune regulated in coordination with the hormonal response of the host. Finally, a metabolomic analysis points ABA as a key component of the differential response. Overall, our study contributes to understand the impact of host age on host-virus interactions and how it conditions the evolution of viruses.

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This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars series.

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