Study : Digital gene expression analysis of ACMV-infected cassava


Digital gene expression analysis of ACMV-infected cassava
Cassava mosaic disease caused by cassava begomoviruses is the most serious disease of cassava in Africa. However, the molecular mechanisms leading to symptom development of infected cassava plants are poorly understood. Here a high throughput digital gene expression profiling (DGE) based on Illumina Solexa sequencing technology was used to investigate the global transcriptional response of cassava to the African cassava mosaic virus infection. Results showed that 3,210 genes were differentially expressed in virus-infected cassava leaves. Gene Ontology (GO) term and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis indicated that photosynthesis related genes were most affected, which was consistent with the chlorotic symptom on the infected leaves. The upregulation of chlorophyll degradation genes, e.g. the genes encoding chlorophyllase and pheophorbide a oxygenase, as well as the downregulation of the major apoproteins genes in light harvesting complex II (LHCII) identified by the DGE analysis were confirmed by qRT-PCR. Together with the reduction of chlorophyll b content and fewer grana stacks in the infected leaf cells, this study reveals that the degradation of chlorophyll plays an important role during ACMV symptom development for the first time. Meanwhile, we believe that the non-lethal effect on photosystem is a trick for virus to avoid fierce host immune response and a result of the long-term co-evolution. This study will provide a road map for future investigations into virus symptom development. Overall design: ACMV-infected cassava leaves mixture from three independent replicates were collected for RNA extractions at 20 dpi. Control samples were harvested from empty agrobacteria treated leaves incubated under the same conditions.
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