Comparative analysis of virus-specific small RNA profiles of three biologically distinct strains of Potato virus Y in infected potato (Solanum tuberosum) cv. Russet Burbank.
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Deep sequencing technology has enabled the analysis of small RNA profiles of virus-infected plants and could provide insights into virus-host interactions. Potato virus Y is an economically important viral pathogen of potato worldwide. In this study, we investigated the nature and relative levels of virus-derived small interfering RNAs (vsiRNAs) in potato cv. Russet Burbank infected with three biologically distinct and economically important strains of PVY, the ordinary strain (PVY-O), tobacco veinal-necrotic strain (PVY-N) and tuber necrotic strain (PVY-NTN). The analysis showed an overall abundance of vsiRNAs of 20-24nt in PVY-infected plants. Considerable differences were present in the distribution of vsiRNAs as well as total small RNAs. The 21nt class was the most prevalent in PVY-infected plants irrespective of the virus strain, whereas in healthy potato plants, the 24nt class was the most dominant. vsiRNAs were derived from every position in the PVY genome, though certain hotspots were identified for each of the PVY strains. Among the three strains used, the population of vsiRNAs of different size classes was relatively different with PVY-NTN accumulating the highest level of vsiRNAs, while PVY-N infected plants had the least population of vsiRNAs. Unique vsiRNAs mapping to PVY genome in PVY-infected plants amounted to 3.13, 1.93 and 1.70% for NTN, N and O, respectively. There was a bias in the generation of vsiRNAs from the plus strand of the genome in comparison to the negative strand. The highest number of total vsiRNAs was from the cytoplasmic inclusion protein gene (CI) in PVY-O and PVY-NTN strains, whereas from PVY-N, the NIb gene produced maximum total vsiRNAs. These findings indicate that the three PVY strains interact differently in the same host genetic background and provided insights into virus-host interactions in an important food crop.