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PLoS One. 2016 Jan 4;11(1):e0146135. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0146135. eCollection 2016.

Primary Metabolism, Phenylpropanoids and Antioxidant Pathways Are Regulated in Potato as a Response to Potato virus Y Infection.

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Department of Biotechnology and Systems Biology, National Institute of Biology, Večna pot 111, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Department of Biology, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Večna pot 111, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Department of Ecogenomics and Systems Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, Vienna, Austria.
Vienna Metabolomics Center (VIME), University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria.


Potato production is one of the most important agricultural sectors, and it is challenged by various detrimental factors, including virus infections. To control losses in potato production, knowledge about the virus-plant interactions is crucial. Here, we investigated the molecular processes in potato plants as a result of Potato virus Y (PVY) infection, the most economically important potato viral pathogen. We performed an integrative study that links changes in the metabolome and gene expression in potato leaves inoculated with the mild PVYN and aggressive PVYNTN isolates, for different times through disease development. At the beginning of infection (1 day post-inoculation), virus-infected plants showed an initial decrease in the concentrations of metabolites connected to sugar and amino-acid metabolism, the TCA cycle, the GABA shunt, ROS scavangers, and phenylpropanoids, relative to the control plants. A pronounced increase in those metabolites was detected at the start of the strong viral multiplication in infected leaves. The alterations in these metabolic pathways were also seen at the gene expression level, as analysed by quantitative PCR. In addition, the systemic response in the metabolome to PVY infection was analysed. Systemic leaves showed a less-pronounced response with fewer metabolites altered, while phenylpropanoid-associated metabolites were strongly accumulated. There was a more rapid onset of accumulation of ROS scavengers in leaves inoculated with PVYN than those inoculated with PVYNTN. This appears to be related to the lower damage observed for leaves of potato infected with the milder PVYN strain, and at least partially explains the differences between the phenotypes observed.

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