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Viral effector protein manipulates host hormone signaling to attract insect vectors.

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Some plant and animal pathogens can manipulate their hosts to cause them to release odors that are attractive to the pathogens' arthropod vectors. However, the molecular mechanism underlying this process is largely unexplored, and the specific effectors the pathogens employ as well as the pathways within the hosts they target are currently unknown. Here we reveal that the aphid-borne cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) employs its 2b protein, a well-characterized viral suppressor of host RNA interference (VSR), to target the host's jasmonate (JA) hormone pathway, thus acting as a viral inducer of host attractiveness to insect vectors (VIA). 2b inhibits JA signaling by directly interacting with and repressing JA-induced degradation of host jasmonate ZIM-domain proteins, instead of using its VSR activity. Our findings identify a previously defined VSR protein as a VIA and uncover a molecular mechanism CMV uses to manipulate host's attractiveness to insect vectors by targeting host hormone signaling.

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