Sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV) is an important virus pathogen in crop production, causing serious losses in grain and forage yields in susceptible cultivars. Control strategies have been developed, but only marginal successes have been achieved. For the efficient control of this virus, a better understanding of its interactions and associated resistance mechanisms at the molecular level is required.
The responses of resistant and susceptible genotypes of maize to SCMV and the molecular basis of the resistance were studied using a proteomic approach based on two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (2-DE) and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS/MS) analysis. Ninety-six protein spots showed statistically significant differences in intensity after SCMV inoculation. The classification of differentially expressed proteins showed that SCMV-responsive proteins were mainly involved in energy and metabolism, stress and defense responses, and photosynthesis. Most of the proteins identified were located in chloroplasts, chloroplast membranes, and the cytoplasm. Analysis of changes in phytohormone levels after virus inoculation suggested that salicylic acid, abscisic acid, jasmonic acid, and azelaic acid may played important roles in the maize response to SCMV infection.
Among these identified proteins, 19 have not been identified previously as virus-responsive proteins, and seven were new and did not have assigned functions. These proteins may be candidate proteins for future investigation, and they may present new biological functions and play important roles in plant-virus interactions. The behavioural patterns of the identified proteins suggest the existence of defense mechanisms operating during the early stages of infection that differed in two genotypes. In addition, there are overlapping and specific phytohormone responses to SCMV infection between resistant and susceptible maize genotypes. This study may provide important insights into the molecular events during plant responses to virus infection.