Defense-Related Gene Expression Following an Orthotospovirus Infection Is Influenced by Host Resistance in Arachis hypogaea

Planting resistant cultivars is the most effective tactic to manage the thrips-transmitted tomato spotted wilt orthotospovirus (TSWV) in peanut plants. However, molecular mechanisms conferring resistance to TSWV in resistant cultivars are unknown. In this study, transcriptomes of TSWV-susceptible (SunOleic 97R) and field-resistant (Tifguard) peanut cultivars with and without TSWV infection were assembled and differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were compared. There were 4605 and 2579 significant DEGs in SunOleic 97R and Tifguard, respectively. Despite the lower number of DEGs in Tifguard, an increased proportion of defense-related genes were upregulated in Tifguard than in the susceptible cultivar. Examples included disease resistance (R) proteins, leucine-rich repeats, stilbene synthase, dicer, and calmodulin. Pathway analysis revealed the increased downregulation of genes associated with defense and photosynthesis in the susceptible cultivar rather than in the resistant cultivar. These results suggest that essential physiological functions were less perturbed in the resistant cultivar than in the susceptible cultivar and that the defense response following TSWV infection was more robust in the resistant cultivar than in the susceptible cultivar.

Michael A Catto, Anita Shrestha, Mark R Abney, Donald E Champagne, Albert K Culbreath, Soraya C M Leal-Bertioli, Brendan G Hunt, Rajagopalbabu Srinivasan. Viruses. 2021 Jul 5;13(7):1303. doi: 10.3390/v13071303.