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Title

Host responses in life-history traits and tolerance to virus infection in Arabidopsis thaliana

AuthorsPagán, Israel; Alonso-Blanco, Carlos; García-Arenal, Fernando
Issue Date15-Aug-2008
PublisherPublic Library of Science
CitationPLoS Pathogens 4(8): e1000124
AbstractKnowing how hosts respond to parasite infection is paramount in understanding the effects of parasites on host populations and hence host–parasite co-evolution. Modification of life-history traits in response to parasitism has received less attention than other defence strategies. Life-history theory predicts that parasitised hosts will increase reproductive effort and accelerate reproduction. However, empirical analyses of these predictions are few and mostly limited to animal-parasite systems. We have analysed life-history trait responses in 18 accessions of Arabidopsis thaliana infected at two different developmental stages with three strains of Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV). Accessions were divided into two groups according to allometric relationships; these groups differed also in their tolerance to CMV infection. Life-history trait modification upon virus infection depended on the host genotype and the stage at infection. While all accessions delayed flowering, only the more tolerant allometric group modified resource allocation to increase the production of reproductive structures and progeny, and reduced the length of reproductive period. Our results are in agreement with modifications of life-history traits reported for parasitised animals and with predictions from life-history theory. Thus, we provide empirical support for the general validity of theoretical predictions. In addition, this experimental approach allowed us to quantitatively estimate the genetic determinism of life-history trait plasticity and to evaluate the role of life-history trait modification in defence against parasites, two largely unexplored issues.
[Author summary] Hosts have developed a variety of mechanisms to compensate for the negative impact of parasite infection. Modification of life-history traits in response to parasitism has received less attention than other defence strategies. Life-history theory assumes trade-offs between resource allocation to different fitness components, and predicts that hosts under parasitism will allocate more resources to reproduction, subtracting them from those dedicated to growth and survival. Empirical support for predictions is not abundant, and derives mostly from the analysis of animal-parasite systems. We have analysed the modification of various life-history traits in the plant Arabidopsis thaliana infected by Cucumber mosaic virus. Life-history trait modification upon virus infection depended on the host genotype and on the developmental stage at infection. All plant genotypes delayed flowering, but only the more tolerant ones allocated more resources to reproduction, and reduced the length of reproductive period. These results agree with reports from parasitised animals and with predictions from life-history theory, providing empirical support for the general validity of theoretical predictions. In addition, results allow for the more precise evaluation of the role of life-history trait modification in defence against parasites by taking into account plant–virus interactions where life-history traits were differentially modified.
Description10 pages, 4 figures.-- PMID: 18704166 [PubMed].-- PMCID: PMC2494869.-- Supplementary information available (Fig. S1, Tables S1-S4).
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1000124
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/9841
DOI10.1371/journal.ppat.1000124
ISSN1553-7366
E-ISSN1553-7374
Appears in Collections:(CNB) Artículos
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