Research conducted by the Institute of Zoology of the Chinese Academy of
Sciences (CAS) has discovered how a severe rice virus reproduces inside the
small brown planthopper, a major carrier of the virus.
Rice stripe virus (RSV) causes severe damages to rice crops yearly. Viral
infections in animal hosts activate a pathway by which a type of enzyme,
called c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), is signalled to respond. However, how
exactly viruses regulate this pathway in vectors remains an open question.
To address this question, the team explored the effect of RSV on the JNK
signalling pathway in the small brown planthopper, and found that the virus
activates the pathway in various ways, but especially through the
interaction of a planthopper protein called G protein pathway suppressor 2
(GPS2), and a viral protein called capsid protein. The research results also
suggest that inhibiting the JNK pathway strengthens interactions with GPS2
or weakening the effects of TNF-a, which could be beneficial for rice