TMV induces RNA decay pathways to modulate gene silencing and disease symptoms.

Research paper by G G Conti, D D Zavallo, A L AL Venturuzzi, M C MC Rodriguez, M M Crespi, S S Asurmendi

Indexed on: 07 Sep '16Published on: 07 Sep '16Published in: The Plant Journal


RNA decay pathways comprise a combination of RNA degradation mechanisms that are implicated in gene expression, development and defense responses in eukaryotes. These mechanisms are known as the RNA Quality Control or RQC pathways. In plants, another important RNA degradation mechanism is the post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) mediated by small RNAs (siRNAs). Notably, the RQC pathway antagonizes PTGS by preventing the entry of dysfunctional mRNAs into the silencing pathway to avoid global degradation of mRNA by siRNAs. Viral transcripts must evade RNA degrading mechanisms, thus viruses encode PTGS suppressor proteins to counteract viral RNA silencing. Here, we demonstrate that tobacco plants infected with TMV and transgenic lines expressing TMV MP and CP proteins (which are not linked to the suppression of silencing) display increased transcriptional levels of RNA decay genes. These plants also showed accumulation of cytoplasmic RNA granules with altered structure, increased rates of RNA decay for transgenes and defective transgene PTGS amplification. Furthermore, knockdown of RRP41 or RRP43 RNA exosome components led to lower levels of TMV accumulation with milder symptoms after infection, several developmental defects and miRNA de-regulation. Thus, we propose that TMV proteins induce RNA decay pathways (in particular exosome components) to impair antiviral PTGS and this defensive mechanism would constitute an additional counter-defense strategy that lead to disease symptoms. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.