Apr 6, 2020

Biological characterization of Euscelidius variegatus iflavirus 1

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
S. OttatiC. Marzachi


Virus-based biocontrol technologies represent sustainable alternatives to pesticides and insecticides. Phytoplasmas are prokaryotic plant pathogens causing severe losses to crops worldwide. Novel approaches are needed since insecticides against their insect vectors and rogueing of infected plants are the only available strategies to counteract phytoplasma diseases. A new iflavirus, named EVV-1, has been described in the leafhopper phytoplasma vector Euscelidius variegatus, raising the potential to use virus-based application strategies against phytoplasma disease. Here transmission routes of EVV-1 are characterized, and localization within the host reveals the mechanism of insect tolerance to virus infection. Both vertical and horizontal transmission of EVV-1 occur and vertical transmission was more efficient. The virus is systemic and occurs in all life-stages, with the highest loads measured in ovaries and first to third instar nymphs. The basic knowledge gained here on the biology of the virus is crucial for possible future application of iflaviruses as biocontrol agents.

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