Transcriptome profiling of pepper leaves by RNA-Seq during an incompatible and a compatible pepper-tobamovirus interaction

Sci Rep. 2021 Oct 19;11(1):20680. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-00002-5.

Abstract

Upon virus infections, the rapid and comprehensive transcriptional reprogramming in host plant cells is critical to ward off virus attack. To uncover genes and defense pathways that are associated with virus resistance, we carried out the transcriptome-wide Illumina RNA-Seq analysis of pepper leaves harboring the L3 resistance gene at 4, 8, 24 and 48 h post-inoculation (hpi) with two tobamoviruses. Obuda pepper virus (ObPV) inoculation led to hypersensitive reaction (incompatible interaction), while Pepper mild mottle virus (PMMoV) inoculation resulted in a systemic infection without visible symptoms (compatible interaction). ObPV induced robust changes in the pepper transcriptome, whereas PMMoV showed much weaker effects. ObPV markedly suppressed genes related to photosynthesis, carbon fixation and photorespiration. On the other hand, genes associated with energy producing pathways, immune receptors, signaling cascades, transcription factors, pathogenesis-related proteins, enzymes of terpenoid biosynthesis and ethylene metabolism as well as glutathione S-transferases were markedly activated by ObPV. Genes related to photosynthesis and carbon fixation were slightly suppressed also by PMMoV. However, PMMoV did not influence significantly the disease signaling and defense pathways. RNA-Seq results were validated by real-time qPCR for ten pepper genes. Our findings provide a deeper insight into defense mechanisms underlying tobamovirus resistance in pepper.