From molecules to physiology
|Scooped by Biswapriya Biswavas Misra|
Identification of the determinants of pathogen reservoir potential is central to understand disease emergence. It has been proposed that host lifespan is one such determinant: short-lived hosts will invest less in costly defenses against pathogens, so that they will be more susceptible to infection, more competent as sources of infection and/or will sustain larger vector populations, thus being effective reservoirs for the infection of long-lived hosts. This hypothesis is sustained by analyses of different hosts of multihost pathogens, but not of different genotypes of the same host species. Here we examined this hypothesis by comparing two genotypes of the plant Arabidopsis thaliana that differ largely both in life-span and in tolerance to its natural pathogen Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV). Experiments with the aphid vector Myzus persicae showed that both genotypes were similarly competent as sources for virus transmission, but the short-lived genotype was more susceptible to infection and was able to sustain larger vector populations. To explore how differences in defense against CMV and its vector relate to reservoir potential, we developed a model that was run for a set of experimentally-determined parameters, and for a realistic range of host plant and vector population densities. Model simulations showed that the less efficient defenses of the short-lived genotype resulted in higher reservoir potential, which in heterogeneous host populations may be balanced by the longer infectious period of the long-lived genotype. This balance was modulated by the demography of both host and vector populations, and by the genetic composition of the host population. Thus, within-species genetic diversity for lifespan and defenses against pathogens will result in polymorphisms for pathogen reservoir potential, which will condition within-population infection dynamics. These results are relevant for a better understanding of host-pathogen co-evolution, and of the dynamics of pathogen emergence.