Disturbance of floral colour pattern by activation of an endogenous pararetrovirus, petunia vein clearing virus, in aged petunia plants. Academic Article uri icon


  • White areas of star-type bicolour petals of petunia (Petunia hybrida) are caused by post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) of the key enzyme of anthocyanin biosynthesis. We observed blotched flowers and a vein-clearing symptom in aged petunia plants. To determine the cause of blotched flowers, we focused on an endogenous pararetrovirus, petunia vein clearing virus (PVCV), because this virus may have a suppressor of PTGS (VSR). Transcripts and episomal DNAs derived from proviral PVCVs accumulated in aged plants, indicating that PVCV was activated as the host plant aged. Furthermore, DNA methylation of CG and CHG sites in the promoter region of proviral PVCV decreased in aged plants, suggesting that poor maintenance of DNA methylation activates PVCV. In parallel, de novo DNA methylation of CHH sites in its promoter region was also detected. Therefore, both activation and inactivation of PVCV occurred in aged plants. The accumulation of PVCV transcripts and episomal DNAs in blotched regions and the detection of VSR activity support a mechanism in which suppression of PTGS by PVCV causes blotched flowers.

published proceedings

  • Plant J

altmetric score

  • 21.48

author list (cited authors)

  • Kuriyama, K., Tabara, M., Moriyama, H., Kanazawa, A., Koiwa, H., Takahashi, H., & Fukuhara, T.

citation count

  • 12

complete list of authors

  • Kuriyama, Kazunori||Tabara, Midori||Moriyama, Hiromitsu||Kanazawa, Akira||Koiwa, Hisashi||Takahashi, Hideki||Fukuhara, Toshiyuki

publication date

  • July 2020