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Biological plant-virus race

Date: 12 October 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous


A new study has discovered a new step in arms race between the virus called Synedrella Yellow Vein Clearing Virus and the plants it attacks. 



Plants and viruses are constantly involved in a race to outdo one another, and their lives literally depend on this. 



  • The virus was isolated by the researchers from a plant named Synedrella nodiflora, and it was able to infect tobacco and tomato plant in their studies.

  • This virus is a representative of the Begomovirus family of viruses. Begomoviruses are a large family with about 400 members. They infect economically important plants and are a major reason for crop loss.



  • The virus first attacks the plant, and the plant has defences that are actually counter-attacks – mechanisms that seek to destroy the virus.

  • In turn, the virus develops a counter-counter-attack by trying to escape being destroyed by the plant’s mechanisms.

  • In the case of the Synedrella Yellow Vein Clearing Virus, it happens this way: When the virus attacks the plant, it produces vein-clearing symptoms which make the plant look beautiful.

  • In turn, the plant develops defence mechanisms to destroy the virus. It targets the protein called BetaC1 made by the virus which helps in successful infection and intracellular movement within the plant.

  • Plants degrade BetaC1 protein of virus by tagging this protein with another smaller protein called ubiquitin.

  • In response, the virus uses the plant’s machinery to create a small modification of the BetaC1 protein. It adds a tiny protein called SUMO to the betaC1 protein in a process termed SUMOylation.



Viruses very similar to this virus are the biggest threat to crop production throughout world. Apparently, up to 60% of horticultural crops are lost due to begomoviral infection.

The results also provide newer tools to identify and generate plants that can resist viruses.

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