Plant Diversity ›› 2022, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (01): 1-10.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2021.03.004

• Articles •     Next Articles

Inter-species mRNA transfer among green peach aphids, dodder parasites, and cucumber host plants

Juan Songa,b, Jinge Biana,b, Na Xuea,b, Yuxing Xua,b, Jianqiang Wua,b   

  1. a Department of Economic Plants and Biotechnology, Yunnan Key Laboratory for Wild Plant Resources, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650201, China;
    b CAS Center for Excellence in Biotic Interactions, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2021-03-03 Online:2022-02-25 Published:2022-03-12
  • Contact: Jianqiang Wu
  • Supported by:
    This work was supported by China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2020M673314 (J.S.) and 2020M673315 (Y.X.)) and Postdoctoral Directional Training Foundation of Yunnan Province (J.S. and Y.X.). We are grateful to the Service Center for Experimental Biotechnology at the Kunming Institute of Botany, CAS, for supporting plant cultivation.

Abstract: mRNAs are transported within a plant through phloem. Aphids are phloem feeders and dodders (Cuscuta spp.) are parasites which establish phloem connections with host plants. When aphids feed on dodders, whether there is trafficking of mRNAs among aphids, dodders, and host plants and if aphid feeding affects the mRNA transfer between dodders and hosts are unclear. We constructed a green peach aphid (GPA, Myzus persicae)-dodder (Cuscuta australis)-cucumber (Cucumis sativus) tritrophic system by infesting GPAs on C. australis, which parasitized cucumber hosts. We found that GPA feeding activated defense-related phytohormonal and transcriptomic responses in both C. australis and cucumbers and large numbers of mRNAs were found to be transferred between C. australis and cucumbers and between C. australis and GPAs; importantly, GPA feeding on C. australis greatly altered inter-species mobile mRNA profiles. Furthermore, three cucumber mRNAs and three GPA mRNAs could be respectively detected in GPAs and cucumbers. Moreover, our statistical analysis indicated that mRNAs with high abundances and long transcript lengths are likely to be mobile. This study reveals the existence of inter-species and even inter-kingdom mRNA movement among insects, parasitic plants, and parasite hosts, and suggests complex regulation of mRNA trafficking.

Key words: Dodder, Cuscuta, Green peach aphid, Host plant, mRNA transfer, Inter-kingdom interaction