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Rice stripe virus (RSV) is the causative agent of rice stripe disease and is completely dependent on insect vectors for its plant-to-plant transmission. Laodelphax striatellus is the major insect vector for RSV. In this study, we explored the interactions between RSV infection and L. striatellus autophagy, a potential intrinsic antiviral mechanism in insects. We found that L. striatellus autophagic activity did not affect RSV infection; however, the autophagy-related-8 (Atg8) gene significantly enhanced virus infection. During RSV initial infection within the L. striatellus midgut, silencing of Atg8 expression significantly decreased the phosphorylation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (p-JNK); however, when RSV infection is absent, silencing of Atg8 did not alter p-JNK levels. These results indicated that Atg8 might activate the JNK machinery by allowing more virus infection into cells. We further revealed that Atg8-deficiency significantly decreased RSV accumulation on the surface of the insect midgut epithelial cells, suggesting a receptor trafficking function of the γ-aminobutyric acid receptor-associated protein family. Using the RSV ovary entry as a model, in which vitellogenin receptor (VgR) mediates RSV cell entry, we clarified that Atg8-deficiency decreased the abundance of VgR localizing on the cytomembrane and disturbed the attachment of RSV in the germarium zones. Collectively, these results revealed an autophagy-independent function of L. striatellus Atg8 that enhances RSV initial infection by increasing virus attachment on the infection sites. © 2020 Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.


Yuan-Ling Yu, Meng-Ting Zhang, Yan Huo, Ji-Liang Tang, Qing Liu, Xiao-Ying Chen, Rong-Xiang Fang, Li-Li Zhang. Laodelphax striatellus Atg8 facilitates Rice stripe virus infection in an autophagy-independent manner. Insect science. 2021 Apr;28(2):315-329

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PMID: 32108430

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