Autophagy pathway induced by a plant virus facilitates viral spread and transmission by its insect vector.
ABSTRACT: Many viral pathogens are persistently transmitted by insect vectors and cause agricultural or health problems. Generally, an insect vector can use autophagy as an intrinsic antiviral defense mechanism against viral infection. Whether viruses can evolve to exploit autophagy to promote their transmission by insect vectors is still unknown. Here, we show that the autophagic process is triggered by the persistent replication of a plant reovirus, rice gall dwarf virus (RGDV) in cultured leafhopper vector cells and in intact insects, as demonstrated by the appearance of obvious virus-containing double-membrane autophagosomes, conversion of ATG8-I to ATG8-II and increased level of autophagic flux. Such virus-containing autophagosomes seem able to mediate nonlytic viral release from cultured cells or facilitate viral spread in the leafhopper intestine. Applying the autophagy inhibitor 3-methyladenine or silencing the expression of Atg5 significantly decrease viral spread in vitro and in vivo, whereas applying the autophagy inducer rapamycin or silencing the expression of Torc1 facilitate such viral spread. Furthermore, we find that activation of autophagy facilitates efficient viral transmission, whereas inhibiting autophagy blocks viral transmission by its insect vector. Together, these results indicate a plant virus can induce the formation of autophagosomes for carrying virions, thus facilitating viral spread and transmission by its insect vector. We believe that such a role for virus-induced autophagy is common for vector-borne persistent viruses during their transmission by insect vectors.
Project description:Rice dwarf virus (RDV) replicates in and is transmitted by a leafhopper vector in a persistent-propagative manner. Previous cytopathologic and genetic data revealed that tubular structures, constructed by the nonstructural viral protein Pns10, contain viral particles and are directly involved in the intercellular spread of RDV among cultured leafhopper cells. Here, we demonstrated that RDV exploited these virus-containing tubules to move along actin-based microvilli of the epithelial cells and muscle fibers of visceral muscle tissues in the alimentary canal, facilitating the spread of virus in the body of its insect vector leafhoppers. In cultured leafhopper cells, the knockdown of Pns10 expression due to RNA interference (RNAi) induced by synthesized dsRNA from Pns10 gene strongly inhibited tubule formation and prevented the spread of virus among insect vector cells. RNAi induced after ingestion of dsRNA from Pns10 gene strongly inhibited formation of tubules, preventing intercellular spread and transmission of the virus by the leafhopper. All these results, for the first time, show that a persistent-propagative virus exploits virus-containing tubules composed of a nonstructural viral protein to traffic along actin-based cellular protrusions, facilitating the intercellular spread of the virus in the vector insect. The RNAi strategy and the insect vector cell culture provide useful tools to investigate the molecular mechanisms enabling efficient transmission of persistent-propagative plant viruses by vector insects.
Project description:Macroautophagy/autophagy plays an important role against pathogen infection in mammals and plants. However, little has been known about the role of autophagy in the interactions of insect vectors with the plant viruses, which they transmit. Begomoviruses are a group of single-stranded DNA viruses and are exclusively transmitted by the whitefly Bemisia tabaci in a circulative manner. In this study, we found that the infection of a begomovirus, tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) could activate the autophagy pathway in the Middle East Asia Minor 1 (MEAM1) species of the B. tabaci complex as evidenced by the formation of autophagosomes and ATG8-II. Interestingly, the activation of autophagy led to the subsequent degradation of TYLCV coat protein (CP) and genomic DNA. While feeding the whitefly with 2 autophagy inhibitors (3-methyladenine and bafilomycin A1) and silencing the expression of Atg3 and Atg9 increased the viral load; autophagy activation via feeding of rapamycin notably decreased the amount of viral CP and DNA in the whitefly. Furthermore, we found that activation of whitefly autophagy could inhibit the efficiency of virus transmission; whereas inhibiting autophagy facilitated virus transmission. Taken together, these results indicate that TYLCV infection can activate the whitefly autophagy pathway, which leads to the subsequent degradation of virus. Furthermore, our report proves that an insect vector uses autophagy as an intrinsic antiviral program to repress the infection of a circulative-transmitted plant virus. Our data also demonstrate that TYLCV may replicate and trigger complex interactions with the insect vector.
Project description:Numerous plant viruses that cause significant agricultural problems are persistently transmitted by insect vectors. We wanted to see if apoptosis was involved in viral infection process in the vector. We found that a plant reovirus (rice gall dwarf virus, RGDV) induced typical apoptotic response during viral replication in the leafhopper vector and cultured vector cells, as demonstrated by mitochondrial degeneration and membrane potential decrease. Fibrillar structures formed by nonstructural protein Pns11 of RGDV targeted the outer membrane of mitochondria, likely by interaction with an apoptosis-related mitochondrial protein in virus-infected leafhopper cells or nonvector insect cells. Such association of virus-induced fibrillar structures with mitochondria clearly led to mitochondrial degeneration and membrane potential decrease, suggesting that RGDV Pns11 was the inducer of apoptotic response in insect vectors. A caspase inhibitor treatment and knockdown of caspase gene expression using RNA interference each reduced apoptosis and viral accumulation, while the knockdown of gene expression for the inhibitor of apoptosis protein improved apoptosis and viral accumulation. Thus, RGDV exploited caspase-dependent apoptotic response to promote viral infection in insect vectors. For the first time, we directly confirmed that a nonstructural protein encoded by a persistent plant virus can induce the typical apoptotic response to benefit viral transmission by insect vectors.
Project description:Plant reoviruses are known to exploit virion-packaging tubules formed by virus-encoding non-structural proteins for viral spread in insect vectors. Tubules are propelled by actin-based tubule motility (ABTM) to overcome membrane or tissue barriers in insect vectors. To further understand which insect factors mediate ABTM, we utilized yeast two-hybrid and bimolecular fluorescence complementation assays to test interactions between tubule protein Pns10 of rice dwarf virus (RDV), a plant reovirus, and proteins of its insect vector, the leafhopper Nephotettix cincticeps. Tropomodulin (Tmod), vitellogenin, and lipophorin precursor of N. cincticep displayed positive and strong interaction with Pns10, and actin-associated protein Tmod interacted with Pns10 in pull-down assay and the co-immunoprecipitation system. Further, we determined Pns10 tubules associated with Tmod in cultured cells and midgut of N. cincticep. The expression dynamic of Tmod was consistent with that of Pns10 and the fluctuation of RDV accumulation. Knockdown of Tmod inhibited the Pns10 expression and viral accumulation, thus decreasing the viruliferous rates of leafhopper. These results suggested that Tmod was involved in viral spread by directly interacting with Pns10 tubules, finally promoting RDV infection. This study provided direct evidence of plant reoviruses utilizing an actin-associated protein to manipulate ABTM in insect vectors, thus facilitating viral spread.
Project description:The bacterial communities in the gut of an insect have important ecological and functional effects on the insect. However, the community composition and diversity of the gut microbiota in insects that vector plant viruses are poorly understood. As an important insect vector, Psammotettix alienus transmits various viruses including wheat dwarf virus (WDV). Here, we used the combination of leafhopper and WDV as model to survey the influence of gut microbiota on virus transmission characteristic of insect vector and vice versa. We have characterized 22 phyla and 249 genera of all gut bacterial communities in the leafhopper populations collected from six geographic regions in China. Community composition and diversity varied across different geographic populations. However, WDV transmission efficiencies of these six field populations were all greater than 80% with no significant difference. Interestingly, the transmission efficiency of WDV by laboratory reared insects with decreased gut bacterial diversity was similar to that of field populations. Furthermore, we found that the composition of the leafhopper gut bacteria was dynamic and could reversibly respond to WDV acquisition. Higher bacterial diversity and abundance of gut microbiota in different leafhopper populations did not influence their WDV transmission efficiency, while the acquisition of WDV changes gut microbiota by a dynamic and reversible manner. This report provides insight into the complex relationship between the gut microbiota, insect vector and virus.
Project description: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/?g 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.
Project description:Bombyx mori nuclear polyhedrosis virus (BmNPV) is an important pathogen of silkworms. Despite extensive studies in recent decades, the interaction between BmNPV and host cells is still not clearly understood. Autophagy is an intrinsic innate immune mechanism and it controls infection autonomously in virus-infected cells. In this study, we found that BmNPV infection could trigger autophagy, as demonstrated by the formation of autophagosomes, fluorescent Autophagy-related gene 8-Green Fluorescent Protein (ATG8-GFP) punctate, and lipidated ATG8. Meanwhile, autophagic flux increased significantly when monitored by the ATG8-GFP-Red Fluorescent Protein (RFP) autophagy tandem sensor and protein degradation of p62. In addition, almost all of the identified autophagy-related genes (Atgs) had been up-regulated post infection in mRNA levels. Then, we screened Atgs with the greatest fold-change during virus infection. Interestingly, all of the screened Atgs positively regulated the expression of virus genes. Further studies showed that Atg7 and Atg9 could contribute to the level of autophagy caused by viral infection. Our results demonstrated that BmNPV induced host cell autophagy to benefit its infection. These results offer insight into the complex interactions between virus and host cell, and viral pathogenesis.
Project description:Apoptosis is generally considered the first line of defense against viral infection. However, the role of apoptosis in the interactions between plant viruses and their insect vectors has rarely been investigated. By studying plant DNA viruses of the genus Begomovirus within the family Geminiviridae, which are transmitted by whiteflies of the Bemisia tabaci species complex in a persistent manner, we revealed that virus-induced apoptosis in insect vectors can facilitate viral accumulation and transmission. We found that infection with tomato yellow leaf curl virus activated the apoptosis pathway in B. tabaci Suppressing apoptosis by inhibitors or silencing caspase-3 significantly reduced viral accumulation, while the activation of apoptosis increased viral accumulation in vivo Moreover, the positive effect of whitefly apoptosis on virus accumulation and transmission was not due to its cross talk with the autophagy pathway that suppresses begomovirus infection in whiteflies. We further showed that viral replication, rather than the viral coat protein, is likely the critical factor in the activation of apoptosis by the virus. These novel findings indicate that similarly to many animal and a few plant RNA viruses, plant DNA viruses may activate apoptosis in their insect vectors leading to enhanced viral accumulation and transmission.IMPORTANCE Of the approximately 1,100 known plant viruses, about one-third are DNA viruses that are vectored by insects. Plant virus infections often induce cellular and molecular responses in their insect vectors, which can, in many cases, affect the spread of viruses. However, the mechanisms underlying vector responses that affect virus accumulation and transmission are poorly understood. Here, we examined the role of virus-induced apoptosis in the transmission of begomoviruses, a group of single-stranded plant DNA viruses that are transmitted by whiteflies and cause extensive damage to many crops worldwide. We demonstrated that virus infection can induce apoptosis in the insect vector conferring protection to the virions from degradation, leading to enhanced viral accumulation and transmission to host plants. Our findings provide valuable clues for designing new strategies to block the transmission of insect-vectored plant viruses, particularly plant DNA viruses.
Project description:Continuously cultured cell lines derived from planthopper and leafhopper have greatly facilitated the investigation of rice viruses transmitted by these insects. However, the lack of a suitable transient expression vector has limited their utility. Here, by cloning and analyzing the promoter sequence of the gene encoding cytoplasmic actin from the leafhopper Nephotettix cincticeps, we successfully developed the first efficient transient expression vector for cultured leafhopper cells, which can also be used to express exogenous proteins in other insect culture cell lines, including those derived from Recilia dorsalis leafhopper and Spodoptera frugiperda (Sf9). Furthermore, insertion of the Hr5 viral enhancer element and knockdown of the endogenous Dicer2 gene notably improved the vector's expression efficiency in leafhopper cells. Using the optimized vector, we have for the first time traced the cellular localization of the proteins encoded by rice yellow stunt virus (RYSV) in cells of its insect vector and demonstrated that P6 protein is a component of the viroplasm.
Project description:Many plant rhabdoviruses are neurotropic and can persistently infect the central nervous system (CNS) of their insect vectors without causing significant cytopathology. The mechanisms by which the insect CNS resists infection by plant rhabdoviruses are largely unknown. Here, we report that the neural factor Hikaru genki homolog of the leafhopper Nephotettix cincticeps (NcHig) limits the spread of the nucleorhabdovirus rice yellow stunt virus (RYSV) in vector CNS. NcHig is predominantly expressed in the CNS of N. cincticeps, and the knockdown of NcHig expression by RNA interference enhances RYSV infection of the CNS. Furthermore, immuno-blockade of NcHig function by microinjection of N. cincticeps with NcHig antibody also enhances viral infection of the CNS. Thus, we conclude that the neuron-specific factor NcHig can control RYSV propagation in the CNS. Interestingly, we find the Hig homolog of the leafhopper Recilia dorsalis also has antiviral activity during the persistent infection of the cytorhabdovirus rice stripe mosaic virus (RSMV) in vector CNS. We further determine that RYSV and RSMV matrix proteins specifically interact with the complement control protein (CCP) domains of Higs. Thus, the matrix protein-binding ability of Hig is potentially essential for its antiviral activity in rice leafhoppers. Our results demonstrate an evolutionarily conserved antiviral mechanism for Hig to mediate the persistent infection of rice rhabdoviruses in the CNS of leafhopper vectors.