Wheat yellow mosaic virus NIb targets TaVTC2 to elicit broad-spectrum pathogen resistance in wheat

Tianye Zhang, Hu Haichao, Ziqiong Wang, Tianyou Feng, Lu Yu, Jie Zhang, Wenqing Gao, Yilin Zhou, Meihao Sun, Peng Liu, Kaili Zhong, ZhiHui Chen, Jianping Chen (Lead / Corresponding author), Wei Li (Lead / Corresponding author), Jian Yang (Lead / Corresponding author)

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GDP-L-galactose phosphorylase (VTC2) catalyses the conversion of GDP-L-galactose to L-galactose-1-P, a vital step of ascorbic acid (AsA) biosynthesis in plants. AsA is well known for its function in the amelioration of oxidative stress caused by most pathogen infection, but its function against viral infection remains unclear. Here, we have identified a VTC2 gene in wheat named as TaVTC2 and investigated its function in association with the wheat yellow mosaic virus (WYMV) infection. Our results showed that overexpression of TaVTC2 significantly increased viral accumulation, whereas knocking down TaVTC2 inhibited the viral infection in wheat, suggesting a positive regulation on viral infection by TaVTC2. Moreover, less AsA was produced in TaVTC2 knocking down plants (TaVTC2-RNAi) which due to the reduction in TaVTC2 expression and subsequently in TaVTC2 activity, resulting in a reactive oxygen species (ROS) burst in leaves. Furthermore, the enhanced WYMV resistance in TaVTC2-RNAi plants was diminished by exogenously applied AsA. We further demonstrated that WYMV NIb directly bound to TaVTC2 and inhibited TaVTC2 enzymatic activity in vitro. The effect of TaVTC2 on ROS scavenge was suppressed by NIb in a dosage-dependent manner, indicating the ROS scavenging was highly regulated by the interaction of TaVTC2 with NIb. Furthermore, TaVTC2 RNAi plants conferred broad-spectrum disease resistance. Therefore, the data indicate that TaVTC2 recruits WYMV NIb to down-regulate its own enzymatic activity, reducing AsA accumulation to elicit a burst of ROS which confers the resistance to WYMV infection. Thus, a new mechanism of the formation of plant innate immunity was proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1073-1088
Number of pages16
JournalPlant Biotechnology Journal
Issue number5
Early online date30 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • wheat
  • TaVTC2
  • ascorbate acid
  • reactive oxygen species
  • NIb
  • wheat yellow mosaic virus


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