Evolution of a wild-plant tobamovirus passaged through an exotic host: Fixation of mutations and increased replication
journal contributionposted on 10.08.2021, 01:11 by SH Koh, H Li, K Sivasithamparam, Ryan AdmiraalRyan Admiraal, MGK Jones, SJ Wylie
Tobamovirus is a group of viruses that have become serious pathogens of crop plants. As part of a study informing risk of wild plant virus spill over to crops, we investigated the capacity of a solanaceous-infecting tobamovirus from an isolated indigenous flora to adapt to new exotic hosts. Yellow tailflower mild mottle virus (YTMMV) (genus Tobamovirus, family Virgaviridae) was isolated from a wild plant of yellow tailflower (Anthocercis littoria, family Solanaceae) and initially passaged through a plant of Nicotiana benthamiana, then one of Nicotiana glutinosa where a single local lesion was used to inoculate a N. benthamiana plant. Sap from this plant was used as starting material for nine serial passages through three plant species. The virus titre was recorded periodically, and 85% of the virus genome was sequenced at each passage for each host. Six polymorphic sites were found in the YTMMV genome across all hosts and passages. At five of these, the alternate alleles became fixed in the viral genome until the end of the experiment. Of these five alleles, one was a non-synonymous mutation (U1499C) that occurred only when the virus replicated in tomato. The mutant isolate harbouring U1499C, designated YTMMV-d, increased its titre over passages in tomato and outcompeted the wild-type isolate when both were co-inoculated to tomato. That YTMMV-d had greater reproductive fitness in an exotic host than did the wild type isolate suggests YTMMV evolution is influenced by host changes.