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The role of miRNAs during viral pathogenesis is poorly understood in plants. Here, we demonstrate a miRNA/target module that acts as a susceptibility factor during ToLCNDV infection. Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus (ToLCNDV) is a devastating pathogen that causes huge crop loss. It is spreading to new geographical locations at a very rapid rate-raising serious concerns. Evolution of insecticidal resistance in Bemisia tabaci which acts as the carrier for ToLCNDV has made insect control very difficult in the recent years. Thus, it is important that the host molecular mechanisms associated with ToLCNDV resistance/susceptibility are investigated to develop management strategies. In our study, we have identified that sly-miR166/SlyHB module acts as a susceptibility factor to ToLCNDV in Solanum lycopersicum. Sly-miR166 is differentially regulated upon ToLCNDV infection in two contrasting tomato cultivars; H-88-78-1 (tolerant to ToLCNDV) and Punjab Chhuhara (susceptible to ToLCNDV). Expression analysis of predicted sly-miR166 targets revealed that the expression of SlyHB is negatively correlated with its corresponding miRNA. Virus-induced gene silencing of SlyHB in the susceptible tomato cultivar resulted in the decrease in disease severity suggesting that SlyHB is a negative regulator of plant defence. In summary, our study highlights a miRNA/target module that acts as a susceptibility factor during ToLCNDV infection. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report that highlights the role of sly-miR166/SlyHB module in ToLCNDV pathogenesis. © 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


Ashish Prasad, Namisha Sharma, Oceania Chirom, Manoj Prasad. The sly-miR166-SlyHB module acts as a susceptibility factor during ToLCNDV infection. TAG. Theoretical and applied genetics. Theoretische und angewandte Genetik. 2022 Jan;135(1):233-242

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PMID: 34636959

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