Nature Scientific Report
Scientific Reports volume 13, Article number: 18719 (2023)
Bananas hold significant economic importance as an agricultural commodity, serving as a primary livelihood source, a favorite fruit, and a staple crop in various regions across the world. However, Banana bunchy top disease (BBTD), which is caused by banana bunchy top virus (BBTV), poses a considerable threat to banana cultivation. To understand the resistance mechanism and the interplay of host suitability factors in the presence of BBTV, we conducted RNA-seq-based comparative transcriptomics analysis on mock-inoculated and BBTV-inoculated samples from resistant (wild Musa balbisiana) and susceptible (Musa acuminata ‘Lakatan’) genotypes. We observed common patterns of expression for 62 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in both genotypes, which represent the typical defense response of bananas to BBTV. Furthermore, we identified 99 DEGs exclusive to the 'Lakatan' banana cultivar, offering insights into the host factors and susceptibility mechanisms that facilitate successful BBTV infection. In parallel, we identified 151 DEGs unique to the wild M. balbisiana, shedding light on the multifaceted mechanisms of BBTV resistance, involving processes such as secondary metabolite biosynthesis, cell wall modification, and pathogen perception. Notably, our validation efforts via RT-qPCR confirmed the up-regulation of the glucuronoxylan 4-O-methyltransferase gene (14.28 fold-change increase), implicated in xylan modification and degradation. Furthermore, our experiments highlighted the potential recruitment of host's substrate adaptor ADO (30.31 fold-change increase) by BBTV, which may play a role in enhancing banana susceptibility to the viral pathogen. The DEGs identified in this work can be used as basis in designing associated gene markers for the precise integration of resistance genes in marker-assisted breeding programs. Furthermore, the findings can be applied to develop genome-edited banana cultivars targeting the resistance and susceptibility genes, thus developing novel cultivars that are resilient to important diseases.