Plant virus infection-induced persistent host gene downregulation in systemically infected leaves

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55 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding of virus infection-induced alterations in host plant gene expression and metabolism leading to the development of virus disease symptoms is both scientifically and economically important. Here, we show that viruses belonging to various RNA virus families are able to induce efficient host gene mRNA downregulation (shut-off) in systemically infected leaves. We demonstrate that the host gene mRNA shut-off overlaps spatially with virus-occupied sectors, indicating the direct role of virus accumulation in this phenomenon. The establishment of shut-off was not directly connected to active viral replication or the RNA-silencing machinery. Importantly, the induced shut-off phenomenon persisted for several weeks, resulting in severe deficiency of mRNA for important housekeeping genes in the infected plants. Interestingly, we found that some other RNA viruses do not induce or only slightly induce the shut-off phenomenon for the same set of genes, implicating genetic determination in this process. Nuclear run-on experiments suggest that plant viruses, similarly to animal viruses, mediate suppression of host mRNA synthesis in the nucleus. By investigating various host-virus interactions, we revealed a correlation between the intensity of the shut-off phenomenon and the severity of disease symptoms. Our data suggest that efficient and persistent downregulation of host genes may be an important component of symptom development in certain host-virus interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-288
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2008


  • Downregulation
  • Gene
  • Host
  • Symptom
  • Virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology

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