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Molecular And Biochemical Examination Of Spraing Disease In Potato Tuber In Response To Tobacco Rattle Virus Infection

Ghulam Sahi, Pete E. Hedley, Jenny Morris, Gary J. Loake, Stuart A. MacFarlane

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Field-grown tubers of potato were examined for infection by Tobacco rattle virus (TRV) and consequent production of corky ringspot or spraing symptoms. A microarray study identified genes that are differentially expressed in tuber tissue in response to TRV infection and to spraing production, suggesting that hypersensitive response (HR) pathways are activated in spraing-symptomatic tubers. This was confirmed by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) of a selected group of HR-related genes and by histochemical staining of excised tuber tissue with spraing symptoms. qRT-PCR of TRV in different regions of the same tuber slice showed that nonsymptomatic areas contained higher levels of virus relative to spraing-symptomatic areas. This suggests that spraing formation is associated with an active plant defense that reduces the level of virus in the infected tuber. Expression of two of the same plant defense genes was similarly upregulated in tubers that were infected with Potato mop-top virus, a virus that also induces spraing formation.