Variations of five eIF4E genes across cassava accessions exhibiting tolerant and susceptible responses to cassava brown streak disease

Shanshan Shi, Xiuchun Zhang, M. Alejandra Mandel, Peng Zhang, Yuliang Zhang, Morag Ferguson, Teddy Amuge, Steve Rounsley, Zhixin Liu, Zhongguo Xiong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Cassava (Manihot esculenta) is an important tropical subsistence crop that is severely affected by cassava brown streak disease (CBSD) in East Africa. The disease is caused by Cassava brown streak virus (CBSV) and Ugandan cassava brown streak virus (UCBSV). Both have a (+)-sense single-stranded RNA genome with a 5’ covalently-linked viral protein, which functionally resembles the cap structure of mRNA, binds to eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) or its analogues, and then enable the translation of viral genomic RNA in host cells. To characterize cassava eIF4Es and their potential role in CBSD tolerance and susceptibility, we cloned five eIF4E transcripts from cassava (accession TMS60444). Sequence analysis indicated that the cassava eIF4E family of proteins consisted of one eIF4E, two eIF(iso)4E, and two divergent copies of novel cap-binding proteins (nCBPs). Our data demonstrated experimentally the coding of these five genes as annotated in the published cassava genome and provided additional evidence for refined annotations. Illumina resequencing data of the five eIF4E genes were analyzed from 14 cassava lines tolerant or susceptible to CBSD. Abundant single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) and biallelic variations were observed in the eIF4E genes; however, most of the SNPs were located in the introns and non-coding regions of the exons. Association studies of non-synonymous SNPs revealed no significant association between any SNP of the five eIF4E genes and the tolerance or susceptibility to CBSD. However, two SNPs in two genes were weakly associated with the CBSD responses but had no direct causal-effect relationship. SNPs in an intergenic region upstream of eIF4E_me showed a surprising strong association with CBSD responses. Digital expression profile analysis showed differential expression of different eIF4E genes but no significant difference in gene expression was found between susceptible and tolerant cassava accessions despite the association of the intergenic SNPs with CBSD responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0181998
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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