Plant viruses account for enormous agricultural losses worldwide, and the most effective way to combat them is to identify genetic material conferring plant resistance to these pathogens. Aiming to identify genetic associations with responses to infection, we screened a large panel of Arabidopsis thaliana natural inbred lines for four disease-related traits caused by infection by A. thaliana-naïve and -adapted isolates of the natural pathogen turnip mosaic virus (TuMV). We detected a strong, replicable association in a 1.5 Mb region on chromosome 2 with a 10-fold increase in relative risk of systemic necrosis. The region contains several plausible causal genes as well as abundant structural variation, including an insertion of a Copia transposon into a Toll/interleukin receptor (TIR-NBS-LRR) coding for a gene involved in defense, that could be either a driver or a consequence of the disease-resistance locus. When inoculated with TuMV, loss-of-function mutant plants of this gene exhibited different symptoms than wild-type plants. The direction and severity of symptom differences depended on the adaptation history of the virus. This increase in symptom severity was specific for infections with the adapted isolate. Necrosis-associated alleles are found worldwide, and their distribution is consistent with a trade-off between resistance during viral outbreaks and a cost of resistance otherwise, leading to negative frequency-dependent selection.
Keywords: A. thaliana; GWAS; Potyvirus; emerging viruses; experimental evolution; frequency-dependent selection; genetics; genomics; infectious disease; microbiology; resistance genes.
© 2023, Butkovic, Ellis, Gonzalez et al.