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Altered expression of Arabidopsis genes in response to a multifunctional geminivirus pathogenicity protein

Liu, L., Chung, H.Y., Lacatus, G., Baliji, S., Ruan, ,J., Sunter, G.

Background
Geminivirus AC2 is a multifunctional protein that acts as a pathogenicity factor. Transcriptional regulation by AC2 appears to be mediated through interaction with a plant specific DNA binding protein, PEAPOD2 (PPD2), that specifically binds to sequences known to mediate activation of the CP promoter of Cabbage leaf curl virus (CaLCuV) and Tomato golden mosaic virus (TGMV). Suppression of both basal and innate immune responses by AC2 in plants is mediated through inactivation of SnRK1.2, an Arabidopsis SNF1 related protein kinase, and adenosine kinase (ADK). An indirect promoter targeting strategy, via AC2-host dsDNA binding protein interactions, and inactivation of SnRK1.2-mediated defense responses could provide the opportunity for geminiviruses to alter host gene expression and in turn, reprogram the host to support virus infection. The goal of this study was to identify changes in the transcriptome of Arabidopsis induced by the transcription activation function of AC2 and the inactivation of SnRK1.2.

Results
Using full-length and truncated AC2 proteins, microarray analyses identified 834 genes differentially expressed in response to the transcriptional regulatory function of the AC2 protein at one and two days post treatment. We also identified 499 genes differentially expressed in response to inactivation of SnRK1.2 by the AC2 protein at one and two days post treatment. Network analysis of these two sets of differentially regulated genes identified several networks consisting of between four and eight highly connected genes. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis validated the microarray expression results for 10 out of 11 genes tested.

Conclusions
It is becoming increasingly apparent that geminiviruses manipulate the host in several ways to facilitate an environment conducive to infection, predominantly through the use of multifunctional proteins. Our approach of identifying networks of highly connected genes that are potentially co-regulated by geminiviruses during infection will allow us to identify novel pathways of co-regulated genes that are stimulated in response to pathogen infection in general, and virus infection in particular.

Citation

Liu, L., Chung, H.Y., Lacatus, G., Baliji, S., Ruan, ,J., Sunter, G. "Altered expression of Arabidopsis genes in response to a multifunctional geminivirus pathogenicity protein" BMC Plant Biology (2014): 302