Transcriptome reprogramming in the shoot apical meristem of CymRSV-infected Nicotiana benthamiana plants associates with viral exclusion and the lack of recovery

Anna Medzihradszky, Péter Gyula, Anita Sós-Hegedűs, György Szittya, József Burgyán

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In some plant–virus interactions plants show a sign of healing from virus infection, a phenomenon called symptom recovery. It is assumed that the meristem exclusion of the virus is essential to this process. The discovery of RNA silencing provided a possible mechanism to explain meristem exclusion and recovery. Here we show evidence that silencing is not the reason for meristem exclusion in Nicotiana benthamiana plants infected with Cymbidium ringspot virus (CymRSV). Transcriptome analysis followed by in situ hybridization shed light on the changes in gene expression in the shoot apical meristem (SAM) on virus infection. We observed the down-regulation of meristem-specific genes, including WUSCHEL (WUS). However, WUS was not down-regulated in the SAM of plants infected with meristem-invading viruses such as turnip vein-clearing virus (TVCV) and cucumber mosaic virus (CMV). Moreover, there is no connection between loss of meristem function and fast shoot necrosis since TVCV necrotized the shoot while CMV did not. Our findings suggest that the observed transcriptional changes on virus infection in the shoot are key factors in tip necrosis and symptom recovery. We observed a lack of GLYCERALDEHYDE 3-PHOSPHATE DEHYDROGENASE (GAPDH) expression in tissues around the meristem, which likely stops virus replication and spread into the meristem.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Plant Pathology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019



  • CymRSV
  • Nicotiana benthamiana
  • shoot apical meristem
  • silencing
  • transcriptome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science

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