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Arabidopsis eIF4E1 protects the translational machinery during TuMV infection and restricts virus accumulation

Posted on 2023-11-20 - 18:46

Successful subversion of translation initiation factors eIF4E determines the infection success of potyviruses, the largest group of viruses affecting plants. In the natural variability of many plant species, resistance to potyvirus infection is provided by polymorphisms at eIF4E that renders them inadequate for virus hijacking but still functional in translation initiation. In crops where such natural resistance alleles are limited, the genetic inactivation of eIF4E has been proposed for the engineering of potyvirus resistance. However, recent findings indicate that knockout eIF4E alleles may be deleterious for plant health and could jeopardize resistance efficiency in comparison to functional resistance proteins. Here, we explored the cause of these adverse effects by studying the role of the Arabidopsis eIF4E1, whose inactivation was previously reported as conferring resistance to the potyvirus clover yellow vein virus (ClYVV) while also promoting susceptibility to another potyvirus turnip mosaic virus (TuMV). We report that eIF4E1 is required to maintain global plant translation and to restrict TuMV accumulation during infection, and its absence is associated with a favoured virus multiplication over host translation. Furthermore, our findings show that, in the absence of eIF4E1, infection with TuMV results in the production of a truncated eIFiso4G1 protein. Finally, we demonstrate a role for eIFiso4G1 in TuMV accumulation and in supporting plant fitness during infection. These findings suggest that eIF4E1 counteracts the hijacking of the plant translational apparatus during TuMV infection and underscore the importance of preserving the functionality of translation initiation factors eIF4E when implementing potyvirus resistance strategies.

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