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Chitosan-elicited defense responses in Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV)-infected tomato plants

Rendina, Nunzia, Nuzzaci, Maria, Scopa, Antonio, Cuypers, Ann, Sofo, Adriano
Journal of plant physiology 2019 v.234-235 pp. 9-17
Cucumber mosaic virus, Solanum lycopersicum var. cerasiforme, biochemical pathways, chitosan, crops, foliar spraying, fruit yield, gas exchange, genes, photosynthesis, plant disease control, plant diseases and disorders, plant viruses, proteins, tomatoes, viruses
The control of plant diseases by inducing plant resistance responses represents an interesting solution to avoid yield losses and protect the natural environment. Hence, the intertwined relationships between host, pathogen and inducer are increasingly subject of investigations. Here, we report the efficacy of chitosan-elicited defense responses in Solanum lycopersicum var. cerasiforme plants against Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV). Chitosan was applied via foliar spray before the CMV inoculation to verify its effectiveness as a preventive treatment against the viral infection. Virus accumulation, photosynthetic performance, as well as genes encoding for proteins affecting resistance responses and biosynthetic pathways, were investigated. It was observed a significant reduction of CMV accumulation in chitosan-treated plants that were successively infected with CMV, compared to only CMV-infected ones (up to 100%). Similarly, a positive effect of chitosan on gas exchange dynamics was revealed. The analysis of gene expression (CEVI-1, NPR1, PSY2 and PAL5) suggested the occurrence of chitosan-induced, systemic acquired resistance-related responses associated with a readjustment of the plant’s oxidative status. In addition, the absence of deleterious symptoms in chitosan-treated successively CMV-infected plants, confirmed that chitosan can be used as a powerful control agent. Our data indicate that chitosan, when preventively applied, is able to elicit defense responses in tomato to control CMV infection. Such finding may be recommended to protect the tomato fruit yields as well as other crops.