Land plant genomes carry tens to hundreds of Resistance (R) genes to combat pathogens. The induction of antiviral R-gene-mediated resistance often results in a hypersensitive response (HR), which is characterized by virus containment in the initially infected tissues and programmed cell death (PCD) of the infected cells. Alternatively, systemic HR (SHR) is sometimes observed in certain R gene–virus combinations, such that the virus systemically infects the plant and PCD induction follows the spread of infection, resulting in systemic plant death. SHR has been suggested to be the result of inefficient resistance induction; however, no quantitative comparison has been performed to support this hypothesis. In this study, we report that the average number of viral genomes that establish cell infection decreased by 28.7% and 12.7% upon HR induction by wild-type cucumber mosaic virus and SHR induction by a single-amino acid variant, respectively. These results suggest that a small decrease in the level of resistance induction can change an HR to an SHR. Although SHR appears to be a failure of resistance at the individual level, our simulations imply that suicidal individual death in SHR may function as an antiviral mechanism at the population level, by protecting neighboring uninfected kin plants.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)