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Tospoviruses Induce Small Interfering RNAs Targeting Viral Sequences and Endogenous Transcripts in Solanaceous Plants

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Fletcher, S. J., Peters, J. R., Olaya, C., Persley, D. M., Dietzgen, R. G., Carroll, B. J., Pappu, H. and Mitter, N. (2022) Tospoviruses Induce Small Interfering RNAs Targeting Viral Sequences and Endogenous Transcripts in Solanaceous Plants. Pathogens, 11 (7). p. 745. ISSN 2076-0817


Article Link: https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens11070745

Publisher URL: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-0817/11/7/745


Tospoviruses infect numerous crop species worldwide, causing significant losses throughout the supply chain. As a defence mechanism, plants use RNA interference (RNAi) to generate virus-derived small-interfering RNAs (vsiRNAs), which target viral transcripts for degradation. Small RNA sequencing and in silico analysis of capsicum and N. benthamiana infected by tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) or capsicum chlorosis virus (CaCV) demonstrated the presence of abundant vsiRNAs, with host-specific differences evident for each pathosystem. Despite the biogenesis of vsiRNAs in capsicum and N. benthamiana, TSWV and CaCV viral loads were readily detectable. In response to tospovirus infection, the solanaceous host species also generated highly abundant virus-activated small interfering RNAs (vasiRNAs) against many endogenous transcripts, except for an N. benthamiana accession lacking a functional RDR1 gene. Strong enrichment for ribosomal protein-encoding genes and for many genes involved in protein processing in the endoplasmic reticulum suggested co-localisation of viral and endogenous transcripts as a basis for initiating vasiRNA biogenesis. RNA-seq and RT-qPCR-based analyses of target transcript expression revealed an inconsistent role for vasiRNAs in modulating gene expression in N. benthamiana, which may be characteristic of this tospovirus-host pathosystem.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Horticulture and Forestry Science
Keywords:capsicum chlorosis virus; tomato spotted wilt virus; tospovirus; solanaceae; virus activated short-interfering RNA; viral short-interfering RNA; RNA interference; vasiRNA
Subjects:Plant culture > Vegetables
Plant pests and diseases
Plant pests and diseases > Plant pathology
Live Archive:07 Jul 2022 01:35
Last Modified:07 Jul 2022 01:35

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