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Transcriptome of the Plant Virus Vector Graminella nigrifrons, and the Molecular Interactions of Maize fine streak rhabdovirus Transmission

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Leafhoppers (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) are plant-phloem feeders that are known for their ability to vector plant pathogens. The black-faced leafhopper (Graminella nigrifrons) has been identified as the only known vector for the Maize fine streak virus (MFSV), an emerging plant pathogen in the Rhabdoviridae . Within G. nigrifrons populations, individuals can be experimentally separated into three classes based on their capacity for viral transmission: transmitters, acquirers and non-acquirers. Understanding the molecular interactions between vector and virus can reveal important insights in virus immune defense and vector transmission. RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) was performed to characterize the transcriptome of G. nigrifrons. A total of 38,240 ESTs of a minimum 100 bp were generated from two separate cDNA libraries consisting of virus transmitters and acquirers. More than 60% of known D. melanogaster, A. gambiae, T. castaneum immune response genes mapped to our G. nigrifrons EST database. Real time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) showed significant down-regulation of three genes for peptidoglycan recognition proteins (PGRP – SB1 , SD , and LC) in G. nigrifrons transmitters versus control leafhoppers. Our study is the first to characterize the transcriptome of a leafhopper vector species. Significant sequence similarity in immune defense genes existed between G. nigrifrons and other well characterized insects. The down-regulation of PGRP s in MFSV transmitters suggested a possible role in rhabdovirus transmission. The results provide a framework for future studies aimed at elucidating the molecular mechanisms of plant virus vector competence.
Yuting Chen , Bryan J. Cassone , Xiaodong Bai , Margaret G. Redinbaugh , Andrew P. Michel , Subba Reddy Palli
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Public Library of Science
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