5 years ago

Autophagy pathway induced by a plant virus facilitates viral spread and transmission by its insect vector

Hongyan Chen, Qian Chen, Yong Chen, Taiyun Wei, Manman Li, Wei Wu, Qianzhuo Mao, Dongsheng Jia
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.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1006727

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