About this Research Topic
Plant host responses to virus infections are extremely variable, spanning from no symptoms all the way to the death of the plant. Moreover, plants can sometimes respond in a way that precludes the virus from replicating, moving, or being acquired by the insect vector. Geminiviruses are ssDNA viruses transmitted by insects that infect a wide variety of plants in tropical, subtropical, and temperate areas of the world. These viruses replicate through double stranded intermediates in the nuclei of infected plants, for which require the DNA replication machinery of the host. As such, the responses that they ignite and their reliance on the plant machinery for replication, movement, and transmission make them great models for the study of plant the processes as well.
As more and more geminiviruses are described, it has become clear that different geminiviral species can frequently co-colonize plants, which pushes the infection into a state of evolutionary pressure where mutation and recombination can go rampant. In other cases, geminiviruses can reach a dead end in their journey, if they infect a host from which they cannot be transmitted; on the other hand, new viruses occasionally jump from wild hosts into crops, exploiting their evolutionary potential and wreaking havoc in agricultural systems. The insect vector is another partner in this equation that is just starting to be dissected.
Do the promiscuity of the vector facilitates new plant or crop colonization? Do viruses replicate in the insect? And, if so, at what rate? In all cases or only in some? Do mutualistic interactions exist between all geminivirus species and their vectors? What are the bases for these? At the same time, different geminiviruses can induce distinct responses in the same plant; what do these differences rely on? Are the plant responses systemic or cell-autonomous? How can we separate them?
Countless questions remain to be answered, underscoring our limited current knowledge and the urge to gain further insight into the molecular, physiological, and ecological mechanisms underlying the infection by geminiviruses. In this Research Topic, we aim to collect manuscripts dealing with the viral manipulation of the host and the plant response to geminivirus infection, focused as well on viral evolution, diagnosis, and control strategies for geminivirus-caused diseases. We hope that the studies collected in this Research Topic will shed light on the tripartite plant-geminivirus-insect interactions, contributing to a deeper understanding that will ultimately pave the way to deal with these devastating pathogens.
Keywords: Geminivirus, Plant-Geminivirus-Insect Interactions, ssDNA Viruses, Plant Host Responses
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