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Prunus/PPV interactions: a molecular approach

Decroocq, V., Schurdi-Levraud, V., Eyquard, J.P., Legall, O., Wawrzyńczak, D., Del Amo J., Simon, L., Martínez, A.
Acta horticulturae 2004 no.657 pp. 331-334
Plum pox virus, Prunus simonii, apricots, cultivars, defense mechanisms, fruit trees, gene expression, genes, host plants, image analysis, peaches, viruses
Plum pox virus (PPV) is the only potyvirus infecting stone fruit trees in Europe and worldwide, causing the most serious viral disease affecting peach, apricot and plum trees. The virus genome has been extensively characterised and sequenced. However, few data are available on its interactions with the host plant, Prunus. In this study, we are focusing on the molecular description of the Apricot/PPV interactions in partially resistant cultivars, 'Goldrich' and 'Stark Early Orange'. Recently, systemic infection by a virus has been associated with specific changes in host gene expression (Whitham et al., 2003). During plant/virus interactions, there are likely major changes in host gene expression that may be associated with either cellular modifications caused by viral infection or stress and defense-like responses. Part of it is due to physiological disorders associated with the development of symptoms by the host plant. In apricots, the working hypothesis is that infection of partially resistant hosts by PPV also requires that the virus modify host cells. Therefore, to gain broader insight into the responses elicited by PPV in tolerant and resistant host plants, transcript imaging in cv. 'Goldrich' and 'SEO' was compared by the technique of cDNA-AFLP. This allowed us to identify candidate genes potentially involved in Prunus/PPV interactions. In an attempt to characterise the functional role of those candidate genes in apricot and peach resistance and susceptibility to PPV, host gene expression in response to PPV infection was monitored. Gene expression patterns will be discussed with regard to defence mechanisms and host cell machinery.