Wheat (Tritium aestivum
L.) production is essential for global food security. Infection of barley yellow dwarf virus-GAV (BYDV-GAV) results in wheat showing leaf yellowing and plant dwarfism symptom. To explore the molecular and ultrastructural mechanisms underlying yellow dwarf symptom formation in BYDV-GAV-infected wheat, we investigated the chloroplast ultrastructure via transmission electron microscopy (TEM), examined the contents of the virus, H2
, and chlorophyll in Zhong8601, and studied the comparative transcriptome through microarray analyses in the susceptible wheat line Zhong8601 after virus infection. TEM images indicated that chloroplasts in BYDV-GAV-infected Zhong8601 leaf cells were fragmentized. Where thylakoids were not well developed, starch granules and plastoglobules were rare. Compared with mock-inoculated Zhong8601, chlorophyll content was markedly reduced, but the virus and H2
contents were significantly higher in BYDV-GAV-infected Zhong8601. The transcriptomic analyses revealed that chlorophyll biosynthesis and chloroplast related transcripts, encoding chlorophyll a/b binding protein, glucose-6-phosphate/phosphate translocator 2, and glutamyl-tRNA reductase 1, were down-regulated in BYDV-GAV-infected Zhong8601. Some phytohormone signaling-related transcripts, including abscisic acid (ABA) signaling factors (phospholipase D alpha 1 and calcineurin B-like protein 9) and nine ethylene response factors, were up-regulated. Additionally, reactive oxygen species (ROS)-related genes were transcriptionally regulated in BYDV-GAV infected Zhong8601, including three up-regulated transcripts encoding germin-like proteins (promoting ROS accumulation) and four down-regulated transcripts encoding peroxides (scavenging ROS). These results clearly suggest that the yellow dwarf symptom formation is mainly attributed to reduced chlorophyll content and fragmentized chloroplasts caused by down-regulation of the chlorophyll and chloroplast biosynthesis related genes, ROS excessive accumulation, and precisely transcriptional regulation of the above-mentioned ABA and ethylene signaling- and ROS-related genes in susceptible wheat infected by BYDV-GAV.
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