Chinese Bulletin of Botany ›› 2023, Vol. 58 ›› Issue (5): 682-686.DOI: 10.11983/CBB23126

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Study Uncovers a New Signaling Circuit Mediating Airborne Defense of Plants Against Aphids and Viruses

Yuan Minhang, Xin Xiufang()   

  1. Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, CAS Center for Excellence in Molecular Plant Sciences, Shanghai 200032, China
  • Received:2023-09-12 Accepted:2023-09-13 Online:2023-09-01 Published:2023-09-21
  • Contact: *E-mail:

Abstract: Aphids and the viruses transmitted by them cause some of the most devastating plant diseases across the globe. Once infected by aphids, plants can produce and release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are transmitted through air and elicit defense in neighboring plants (airborne defense, AD). However, the mechanisms underlying AD remained largely elusive. Dr. Yule Liu’s group at Tsinghua University, China, recently reports a new study and they identify a new signaling circuit, comprising methyl-salicylate (MeSA), salicylic-acid (SA)-binding protein-2 (SABP2), a transcription factor NAC2 and SA-carboxylmethyltransferase-1 (SAMT1) converting SA to MeSA, that mediate interplant communication and airborne defense against aphids and viruses. Furthermore, some virus-encoded virulence proteins could interact with NAC2 transcription factor to reduce the nuclear localization and promotes the degradation of NAC2, thereby suppressing the interplant AD and promoting viral transmission. This comprehensive study provides new mechanistic insights into airborne defense of plants and unravels an amazing aphid/virus co-evolutionary mutualism. It also sets the foundation for new approaches of using AD to control aphid and virus diseases in agriculturally-important plants.

Key words: plant-plant communication, airborne defense, aphids, virus, MeSA, pest resistance, virus resistance