Navigation Links
The genetic secrets to jumping the species barrier

Scientists have pinpointed specific mutations that allow a common plant virus to infect new species, according to research published in the March issue of the Journal of General Virology. Understanding the genetics of the key interactions between viruses and hosts could provide insight to how some viruses manage to jump the species barrier and even give us a better idea of how animal diseases are generated.

Researchers from Saga University, Japan studied the genetic changes that took place when turnip mosaic virus (TuMV) a plant mosaic disease spread by aphids adapted to infect a new species. Genetic analysis showed TuMV had acquired an average of 140 significant mutations, on its evolutionary pathway from Brassica rapa (turnip), a host to which it is well adapted, to a new host Raphanus sativus (radish).

Interestingly, many of the mutations were found clustered in genes that code for two key viral proteins, P3 and CI. These two proteins are already known to interact with genes that help plants resist TuMV infection. Researchers think that a kind of molecular tug of war between these proteins and plant resistance mechanisms takes place, that determines not only the severity of disease following infection, but also whether the virus can infect its host in the first place.

Both plant and animal viruses are specifically adapted to infect and replicate in particular types of host. To ensure their spread and survival, viruses can adapt to their environment by mutating. Mutations may alter the severity of infection in existing hosts, change how contagious a virus is, or allow the virus to infect new hosts. Viruses such as TuMV that use RNA (rather than DNA) as their genetic material mutate especially easily as they use a copying method that is far more error-prone.

Professor Kazusato Ohshima who led the study believes that research into the virus-host interface in plants could have far-reaching benefits. "Revealing the subtleties of the interaction between viruses and plant resistance mechanisms could help breeders produce better crops, for example by selecting strains that block changes to TuMV." He also said the work could help the study of animal viruses. "We are trying to understand how novel viruses emerge - particularly how viruses are able to cross the species barrier. This in turn gives us a better idea of how pandemics are generated and how best to stem their spread."


Contact: Laura Udakis
Society for General Microbiology

Related biology news :

1. Comprehensive study using bioinformatics predicts the molecular causes of many genetic diseases
2. Scientists identify first genetic variant linked to biological aging in humans
3. Genetically-modified mice reveal another mechanism contributing to heart failure
4. Epigenetics could help researchers determine any risks associated with low-dose radiation
5. ARS genetic analysis helps spot sugarcane rusts
6. The Genetics Society of America announces its 2010 award recipients
7. NIGMS awards contract to expand human genetic cell repository
8. Researchers trace effects of genetic defect in myotonic muscular dystrophy
9. NSF grant to launch worlds first open-source genetic parts production facility
10. The Genetics Society of America announces DeLill Nasser Travel Award recipients
11. Genetic risk factor identified for Parkinsons disease
Post Your Comments:
(Date:5/20/2016)... 20, 2016  VoiceIt is excited to announce ... By working together, VoiceIt and VoicePass ... and VoicePass take slightly different approaches to voice ... security and usability. ... new partnership. "This marketing and technology ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... and BANGALORE, India , April 28, ... Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ... announced a global partnership that will provide end ... use mobile banking and payment services.      (Logo: ... key innovation area for financial services, but it also plays ...
(Date:4/15/2016)...  A new partnership announced today will help ... in a fraction of the time it takes ... life insurance policies to consumers without requiring inconvenient ... Diagnostics, rapid testing (A1C, Cotinine and HIV) and ... weight, pulse, BMI, and activity data) available at ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona combed medical ... mesothelioma. Their findings are the subject of a new article on the Surviving Mesothelioma ... in the blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma patients that can help point ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 A person commits a crime, and the ... track the criminal down. An outbreak of foodborne ... Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track down the bacteria ... far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA has increasingly used a complex, ... foodborne illnesses. Put as simply as possible, whole genome sequencing ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016   EpiBiome , a precision microbiome engineering ... debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). The financing ... advance its drug development efforts, as well as purchase ... "SVB has been an incredible strategic partner to us ... bank would provide," said Dr. Aeron Tynes Hammack ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated to identifying, ... community, has closed its Series A funding round, according ... "We have received a commitment from Forentis Fund ... to meet our current goals," stated Matthew Nunez ... to complete validation on the current projects in our ...
Breaking Biology Technology: