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Environments such as light condition influence the spread of infectious diseases by affecting insect vector behavior. However, whether and how light affects the host defense which further affects insect preference and performance, remains unclear, nor has been demonstrated how pathogens co-adapt light condition to facilitate vector transmission. We previously showed that begomoviral βC1 inhibits MYC2-mediated jasmonate signaling to establish plant-dependent mutualism with its insect vector. Here we show red-light as an environmental catalyzer to promote mutualism of whitefly-begomovirus by stabilizing βC1, which interacts with PHYTOCHROME-INTERACTING FACTORS (PIFs) transcription factors. PIFs positively control plant defenses against whitefly by directly binding to the promoter of terpene synthase genes and promoting their transcription. Moreover, PIFs interact with MYC2 to integrate light and jasmonate signaling and regulate the transcription of terpene synthase genes. However, begomovirus encoded βC1 inhibits PIFs' and MYC2' transcriptional activity via disturbing their dimerization, thereby impairing plant defenses against whitefly-transmitted begomoviruses. Our results thus describe how a viral pathogen hijacks host external and internal signaling to enhance the mutualistic relationship with its insect vector.


Pingzhi Zhao, Xuan Zhang, Yuqing Gong, Duan Wang, Dongqing Xu, Ning Wang, Yanwei Sun, Lianbo Gao, Shu-Sheng Liu, Xing Wang Deng, Daniel J Kliebenstein, Xueping Zhou, Rong-Xiang Fang, Jian Ye. Red-light is an environmental effector for mutualism between begomovirus and its vector whitefly. PLoS pathogens. 2021 Jan;17(1):e1008770

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PMID: 33428670

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