Biological plant-virus raceDate: 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.