To identify genes involved in resistance of tomato to Tomato yellow leaf curlvirus (TYLCV), cDNA libraries from lines resistant (R) and susceptible (S) to the virus were compared. The hexose transporter LeHT1 was found to be expressed preferentially in R tomato plants. The role of LeHT1 in the establishment of TYLCV resistance was studied in R plants where LeHT1 has been silenced using Tobacco rattle virus-induced gene silencing (TRV VIGS). Following TYLCV inoculation, LeHT1-silenced R plants showed inhibition of growth and enhanced virus accumulation and spread. In addition, a necrotic response was observed along the stem and petioles of infected LeHT1-silenced R plants, but not on infected not-silenced R plants. This response was specific of R plants since it was absent in infected LeHT1-silenced S plants. Necrosis had several characteristics of programmed cell death (PCD): DNA from necrotic tissues presented a PCD-characteristic ladder pattern, the amount of a JNK analogue increased, and production of reactive oxygen was identified by DAB staining. A similar necrotic reaction along stem and petioles was observed in LeHT1-silenced R plants infected with the DNA virus Bean dwarf mosaic virus and the RNA viruses Cucumber mosaic virus and Tobacco mosaic virus. These results constitute the first evidence for a necrotic response backing natural resistance to TYLCV in tomato, confirming that plant defense is organized in multiple layers. They demonstrate that the hexose transporter LeHT1 is essential for the expression of natural resistance against TYLCV and its expression correlates with inhibition of virus replication and movement.
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Acknowledgments This research was supported by a grant from the US Agency for International Development, Middle East Research and Cooperation (MERC) program to H. C. (GEG-G-00-02-00003-00), Project M21-037. The authors thank Prof. David Baulcombe and the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, The Sainsbury Laboratory, for providing the TRV vectors.
- Gene silencing
- Sucrose transporter
- Virus resistance