The effects of surface structure mutations in Arabidopsis thaliana on the polarization of reflections from virus-infected leaves

Daniel J Maxwell, Julian C Partridge, Nicholas Roberts, Neil Boonham, Gary Foster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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The way in which light is polarized when reflected from leaves can be affected by infection with plant viruses. This has the potential to influence viral transmission by insect vectors due to altered visual attractiveness of infected plants. The optical and topological properties of cuticular waxes and trichomes are important determinants of how light is polarized upon reflection. Changes in expression of genes involved in the formation of surface structures have also been reported following viral infection. This paper investigates the role of altered surface structures in virus-induced changes to polarization reflection from leaves. The percentage polarization of reflections from Arabidopsis thaliana cer5, cer6 and cer8 wax synthesis mutants, and the gl1 leaf hair mutant, was compared to those from wild-type (WT) leaves. The cer5 mutant leaves were less polarizing than WT on the adaxial and abaxial surfaces; gl1 leaves were more polarizing than WT on the adaxial surfaces. The cer6 and cer8 mutations did not significantly affect polarization reflection. The impacts of Turnip vein clearing virus (TVCV) infection on the polarization of reflected light were significantly affected by cer5 mutation, with the reflections from cer5 mutants being higher than those from WT leaves, suggesting that changes in CER5 expression following infection could influence the polarization of the reflections. There was, however, no significant effect of the gl1 mutation on polarization following TVCV infection. The cer5 and gl1 mutations did not affect the changes in polarization following Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) infection. The accumulation of TVCV and CMV did not differ significantly between mutant and WT leaves, suggesting that altered expression of surface structure genes does not significantly affect viral titres, raising the possibility that if such regulatory changes have any adaptive value it may possibly be through impacts on viral transmission.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0174014
Number of pages11
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2017


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