A trio of viral proteins tunes aphid-plant interactions in arabidopsis thaliana Academic Article uri icon


  • Virus-induced deterrence to aphid feeding is believed to promote plant virus transmission by encouraging migration of virus-bearing insects away from infected plants. We investigated the effects of infection by an aphid-transmitted virus, cucumber mosaic virus (CMV), on the interaction of Arabidopsis thaliana, one of the natural hosts for CMV, with Myzus persicae (common names: 'peach-potato aphid', 'green peach aphid').Infection of Arabidopsis (ecotype Col-0) with CMV strain Fny (Fny-CMV) induced biosynthesis of the aphid feeding-deterrent 4-methoxy-indol-3-yl-methylglucosinolate (4MI3M). 4MI3M inhibited phloem ingestion by aphids and consequently discouraged aphid settling. The CMV 2b protein is a suppressor of antiviral RNA silencing, which has previously been implicated in altering plant-aphid interactions. Its presence in infected hosts enhances the accumulation of CMV and the other four viral proteins. Another viral gene product, the 2a protein (an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase), triggers defensive signaling, leading to increased 4MI3M accumulation. The 2b protein can inhibit ARGONAUTE1 (AGO1), a host factor that both positively-regulates 4MI3M biosynthesis and negatively-regulates accumulation of substance(s) toxic to aphids. However, the 1a replicase protein moderated 2b-mediated inhibition of AGO1, ensuring that aphids were deterred from feeding but not poisoned. The LS strain of CMV did not induce feeding deterrence in Arabidopsis ecotype Col-0.Inhibition of AGO1 by the 2b protein could act as a booby trap since this will trigger antibiosis against aphids. However, for Fny-CMV the interplay of three viral proteins (1a, 2a and 2b) appears to balance the need of the virus to inhibit antiviral silencing, while inducing a mild resistance (antixenosis) that is thought to promote transmission. The strain-specific effects of CMV on Arabidopsis-aphid interactions, and differences between the effects of Fny-CMV on this plant and those seen previously in tobacco (inhibition of resistance to aphids) may have important epidemiological consequences.


  • Westwood, JH
  • Groen, SC
  • Du, Z
  • Murphy, AM
  • Anggoro, DT
  • Tungadi, T
  • Luang-In, V
  • Lewsey, MG
  • Rossiter, JT
  • Powell, G
  • Smith, AG
  • Carr, JP

publication date

  • 2013