A nuclear-replicating viroid antagonizes infectivity and accumulation of a geminivirus by upregulating methylation-related genes and inducing hypermethylation of viral DNA

Enza Maria Torchetti, Mattia Pegoraro, Beatriz Navarro, Marco Catoni, Francesco Di Serio, Emanuela Noris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

DNA methylation and post-transcriptional gene silencing play critical roles in controlling infection of single-stranded (ss) DNA geminiviruses and ssRNA viroids, respectively, but both pathogens can counteract these host defense mechanisms and promote their infectivity. Moreover, a specific role of DNA methylation in viroid-host interactions is not yet confirmed. Here, using an experimental system where two nuclear-replicating agents, the geminivirus tomato yellow leaf curl Sardinia virus (TYLCSV) and potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd), co-infect their common host tomato, we observed that PSTVd severely interferes with TYLCSV infectivity and accumulation, most likely as a consequence of strong activation of host DNA methylation pathways. In fact, PSTVd alone or in co-infection with TYLCSV significantly upregulates the expression of key genes governing DNA methylation in plants. Using methylation-sensitive restriction and bisulfite conversion assays, we further showed that PSTVd infection promotes a strong hypermethylation of TYLCSV DNA, thus supporting a mechanistic link with the antagonism of the viroid on the virus in co-infected tomato plants. These results describe the interaction between two nuclear-replicating pathogens and show that they differentially interfere with DNA methylation pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Article number35101
JournalScientific Reports
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2016

Keywords

  • Cell Nucleus/virology
  • DNA Methylation
  • DNA Replication
  • DNA, Viral/biosynthesis
  • Geminiviridae/growth & development
  • Lycopersicon esculentum/virology
  • Viral Interference
  • Viroids/growth & development

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