MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are pivotal modulators of plant development and host-virus interactions. However, the roles and action modes of specific miRNAs involved in viral infection and host susceptibility remain largely unclear. In this study, we show that Rice ragged stunt virus (RRSV) infection caused increased accumulation of miR319 but decreased expression of miR319-regulated TCP (TEOSINTE BRANCHED/CYCLOIDEA/PCF) genes, especially TCP21, in rice plants. Transgenic rice plants overexpressing miR319 or downregulating TCP21 exhibited disease-like phenotypes and showed significantly higher susceptibility to RRSV in comparison with the wild-type plants. In contrast, only mild disease symptoms were observed in RRSV-infected lines overexpressing TCP21 and especially in the transgenic plants overexpressing miR319-resistant TCP21. Both RRSV infection and overexpression of miR319 caused the decreased endogenous jasmonic acid (JA) levels along with downregulated expression of JA biosynthesis and signaling-related genes in rice. However, treatment of rice plants with methyl jasmonate alleviated disease symptoms caused by RRSV and reduced virus accumulation. Taken together, our results suggest that the induction of miR319 by RRSV infection in rice suppresses JA-mediated defense to facilitate virus infection and symptom development.
Keywords: RRSV; TCP21; jasmonic acid; miR319; rice ragged stunt virus; viral infection.
Copyright © 2016 The Author. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.