Dataset Information


The relationship of within-host multiplication and virulence in a plant-virus system.



Virulence does not represent any obvious advantage to parasites. Most models of virulence evolution assume that virulence is an unavoidable consequence of within-host multiplication of parasites, resulting in trade-offs between within-host multiplication and between-host transmission fitness components. Experimental support for the central assumption of this hypothesis, i.e., for a positive correlation between within-host multiplication rates and virulence, is limited for plant-parasite systems.

Methodology/principal findings

We have addressed this issue in the system Arabidopsis thaliana-Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV). Virus multiplication and the effect of infection on plant growth and on viable seed production were quantified for 21 Arabidopsis wild genotypes infected by 3 CMV isolates. The effect of infection on plant growth and seed production depended of plant architecture and length of postembryonic life cycle, two genetically-determined traits, as well as on the time of infection in the plant's life cycle. A relationship between virus multiplication and virulence was not a general feature of this host-parasite system. This could be explained by tolerance mechanisms determined by the host genotype and operating differently on two components of plant fitness, biomass production and resource allocation to seeds. However, a positive relationship between virus multiplication and virulence was detected for some accessions with short life cycle and high seed weight to biomass ratio, which show lower levels of tolerance to infection.


These results show that genotype-specific tolerance mechanisms may lead to the absence of a clear relationship between parasite multiplication and virulence. Furthermore, a positive correlation between parasite multiplication and virulence may occur only in some genotypes and/or environmental conditions for a given host-parasite system. Thus, our results challenge the general validity of the trade-off hypothesis for virulence evolution, and stress the need of considering the effect of both the host and parasite genotypes in analyses of host-parasite interactions.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC1950075 | BioStudies | 2007-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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