Effects of the Noncoding Subgenomic RNA of Red Clover Necrotic Mosaic Virus in Virus Infection

Kanodia, Pulkit
Miller, W. Allen
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© 2022 Kanodia and Miller
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Plant Sciences Institute
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Plant Pathology and MicrobiologyPlant Sciences Institute
In recent years, a new class of viral noncoding subgenomic RNA (ncsgRNA) has been identified. This RNA is generated as a stable degradation product via an exoribonuclease-resistant RNA (xrRNA) structure, which blocks the progression of 5′→3′ exoribonuclease on viral RNAs in infected cells. Here, we assess the effects of the ncsgRNA of red clover necrotic mosaic virus (RCNMV), called SR1f, in infected plants. We demonstrate the following: (i) the absence of SR1f reduces symptoms and decreases viral RNA accumulation in Nicotiana benthamiana and Arabidopsis thaliana plants; (ii) SR1f has an essential function other than suppression of RNA silencing; and (iii) the cytoplasmic exoribonuclease involved in mRNA turnover, XRN4, is not required for SR1f production or virus infection. A comparative transcriptomic analysis in N. benthamiana infected with wild-type RCNMV or an SR1f-deficient mutant RCNMV revealed that wild-type RCNMV infection, which produces SR1f and much higher levels of virus, has a greater and more significant impact on cellular gene expression than the SR1f-deficient mutant. Upregulated pathways include plant hormone signaling, plant-pathogen interaction, MAPK signaling, and several metabolic pathways, while photosynthesis-related genes were downregulated. We compare this to host genes known to participate in infection by other tombusvirids. Viral reads revealed a 10- to 100-fold ratio of positive to negative strand, and the abundance of reads of both strands mapping to the 3′ region of RCNMV RNA1 support the premature transcription termination mechanism of synthesis for the coding sgRNA. These results provide a framework for future studies of the interactions and functions of noncoding RNAs of plant viruses.
This article is published as Kanodia, Pulkit, and W. Allen Miller. "Effects of the noncoding subgenomic RNA of red clover necrotic mosaic virus in virus infection." Journal of virology 96 (2022): e01815-21. doi:10.1128/jvi.01815-21. Posted with permission. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.
xrRNA, SR1f, XRN4, RCNMV, RNA-seq, virus-host interactions, Tombusviridae, xrRNA