Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 37–59 | Cite as

Plant growth regulators and virus infection: A critical review

  • R. S. S. Fraser
  • R. J. Whenham


Virus infection can severely inhibit plant growth and distort development. This article reviews changes in plant growth regulator metabolism caused by infection. In general, virus infection decreases auxin and gibberellin concentrations and increases abscisic acid concentration. Ethylene production is stimulated in necrotic or chlorotic reactions to infection, but not where the virus spreads systemically without necrosis. While these broad trends are true for most host-virus combinations studied, several situations are recorded where the virus had other effects on growth substance concentration. Cytokinin changes do not show any common pattern: both increases and decreases after infection have been reported.

The extent to which virus-induced changes in growth substance concentration could be responsible for observed alterations in host growth and development is discussed. While changes in abscisic acid, gibberellin and ethylene production seem potentially important, the experimental evidence does not provide conclusive proof for control of growth by these changes.

The numerous investigations of effects of exogenous regulators on virus multiplication and pathogenesis are reviewed. Different regulators, or the same regulator applied at different times or concentrations, had very diverse effects, and in some cases did significantly alter virus multiplication and pathogenesis. However, such studies seem to have yielded disappointingly little understanding of the biochemistry of the host-virus interaction, and the possible involvement of growth substances in this.

Possible uses of plant growth regulators in chemotherapy of virus disease, and their possible involvement in natural or induced resistance mechanisms are discussed.

Key words

Plant growth regulators plant virus infection control of host-virus interaction resistance to virus disease chemotherapy of virus disease 


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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff/Dr W. Junk Publishers 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. S. S. Fraser
    • 1
  • R. J. Whenham
    • 1
  1. 1.Biochemistry SectionNational Vegetable Research StationWellesbourneUnited Kingdom

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