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Scientific reports

Small interfering RNA pathway modulates persistent infection of a plant virus in its insect vector.


PMID 26864546

Abstract

Plant reoviruses, rhabdoviruses, tospoviruses, and tenuiviruses are transmitted by insect vectors in a persistent-propagative manner. How such persistent infection of plant viruses in insect vectors is established and maintained remains poorly understood. In this study, we used rice gall dwarf virus (RGDV), a plant reovirus, and its main vector leafhopper Recilia dorsalis as a virus-insect system to determine how the small interference (siRNA) pathway modulates persistent infection of a plant virus in its insect vector. We showed that a conserved siRNA antiviral response was triggered by the persistent replication of RGDV in cultured leafhopper cells and in intact insects, by appearance of virus-specific siRNAs, primarily 21-nt long, and the increased expression of siRNA pathway core components Dicer-2 and Argonaute-2. Silencing of Dicer-2 using RNA interference strongly suppressed production of virus-specific siRNAs, promoted viral accumulation, and caused cytopathological changes in vitro and in vivo. When the viral accumulation level rose above a certain threshold of viral genome copy (1.32 × 10(14) copies/μg insect RNA), the infection of the leafhopper by RGDV was lethal rather than persistent. Taken together, our results revealed a new finding that the siRNA pathway in insect vector can modulate persistent infection of plant viruses.