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Plant Cell Environ. 2017 Dec;40(12):2909-2930. doi: 10.1111/pce.13028. Epub 2017 Aug 17.

Virulence determines beneficial trade-offs in the response of virus-infected plants to drought via induction of salicylic acid.

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Departamento de Biología Medioambiental, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas, CSIC, Madrid, 28040, Spain.
Departamento de Biología Molecular y Bioquímica, Instituto de Hortofruticultura Subtropical y Mediterránea, Universidad de Málaga-CSIC, Málaga, 2907, Spain.
Departamento de Bioquímica, Biología Celular y Molecular de Plantas, Estación Experimental del Zaidín, CSIC, Granada, 18008, Spain.
National Institute of Horticultural and Herbal Science, Rural Development Administration, Wanju, 55365, Republic of Korea.


It has been hypothesized that plants can get beneficial trade-offs from viral infections when grown under drought conditions. However, experimental support for a positive correlation between virus-induced drought tolerance and increased host fitness is scarce. We investigated whether increased virulence exhibited by the synergistic interaction involving Potato virus X (PVX) and Plum pox virus (PPV) improves tolerance to drought and host fitness in Nicotiana benthamiana and Arabidopsis thaliana. Infection by the pair PPV/PVX and by PPV expressing the virulence protein P25 of PVX conferred an enhanced drought-tolerant phenotype compared with single infections with either PPV or PVX. Decreased transpiration rates in virus-infected plants were correlated with drought tolerance in N. benthamiana but not in Arabidopsis. Metabolite and hormonal profiles of Arabidopsis plants infected with the different viruses showed a range of changes that positively correlated with a greater impact on drought tolerance. Virus infection enhanced drought tolerance in both species by increasing salicylic acid accumulation in an abscisic acid-independent manner. Viable offspring derived from Arabidopsis plants infected with PPV increased relative to non-infected plants, when exposed to drought. By contrast, the detrimental effect caused by the more virulent viruses overcame potential benefits associated with increased drought tolerance on host fitness.


Plum pox virus; Potato virus X; host fitness; virus-induced drought tolerance

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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