Biotech Updates

Identification of Insect Receptor for Plant Viruses

November 16, 2007

All viruses that cause widespread damage to agriculture are usually spread by the use of vectors; insects and aphids, being the most common. These vectors spread the viruses usually by non-circulative transmission; a virus is taken up by a vector feeding on an infected plant, absorbed in the lining of the vector’s feeding apparatus, and introduced into new host plants. In this method of transmission, several virus species can be transmitted by the same vector, and, conversely, several vector species can transmit the same virus.

 A group of international researchers has identified the precise location and chemical nature of the first receptor  for a non-circulative virus, the cauliflower mosaic virus (CMV). The receptors were located in the tip of the aphid’s maxillary stylets (mouthparts) as a “non sugar-coated” proteins embedded in the stylets’ chitin matrix. The discovery of such receptor molecules may pave the way in successfully combating spread of plant viruses. CMV spread can now be controlled either by targeting the aphid receptors or CMV’s P2 proteins, found to be responsible in mediating virus-host interaction.

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