Potato Virus Y (PVY) is one of the most important plant viruses affecting potato production. The interactions between potato and PVY are complex and the outcome of the interactions depends on the potato genotype, the PVY strain, and the environmental conditions. A potato cultivar can induce resistance to a specific PVY strain, yet be susceptible to another. How a single potato cultivar responds to PVY in both compatible and incompatible interactions is not clear.
In this study, we used RNA-sequencing (RNA-Seq) to investigate and compare the transcriptional changes in leaves of potato upon inoculation with PVY. We used two potato varieties: Premier Russet, which is resistant to the PVY strain O (PVYO) but susceptible to the strain NTN (PVYNTN), and Russet Burbank, which is susceptible to all PVY strains that have been tested. Leaves were inoculated with PVYO or PVYNTN, and samples were collected 4 and 10 hours post inoculation (hpi). A larger number of differentially expressed (DE) genes were found in the compatible reactions compared to the incompatible reaction. For all treatments, the majority of DE genes were down-regulated at 4 hpi and up-regulated at 10 hpi. Gene Ontology enrichment analysis showed enrichment of the biological process GO term “Photosynthesis, light harvesting” specifically in PVYO-inoculated Premier Russet leaves, while the GO term “nucleosome assembly” was largely overrepresented in PVYNTN-inoculated Premier Russet leaves and PVYO-inoculated Russet Burbank leaves but not in PVYO-inoculated Premier Russet leaves. Fewer genes were DE over 4-fold in the incompatible reaction compared to the compatible reactions. Amongst these, five genes were DE only in PVYO-inoculated Premier Russet leaves, and all five were down-regulated. These genes are predicted to encode for a putative ABC transporter, a MYC2 transcription factor, a VQ-motif containing protein, a non-specific lipid-transfer protein, and a xyloglucan endotransglucosylase-hydroxylase.
Our results show that the incompatible and compatible reactions in Premier Russet shared more similarities, in particular during the initial response, than the compatible reactions in the two different hosts. Our results identify potential key processes and genes that determine the fate of the reaction, compatible or incompatible, between PVY and its host.