Navigation Links
Crop-infecting virus forces aphids to spread disease
Date:12/5/2013

Viruses alter plant biochemistry in order to manipulate visiting aphids into spreading infection.

University of Cambridge researchers have shown that viruses use aphids as pawns, discouraging the insects from permanently settling on already-infected crops and using this forced migration to spread infection to healthy vegetation.

Aphids are sap-sucking insects that attack many different types of plants and are major transmitters of crop-infecting viruses. By altering plant biochemistry, crop-infecting viruses cause vegetation to smell and taste unpleasant to visiting aphids. This repels the insects, causing them to move swiftly away to healthier plants, unwittingly transporting and spreading the virus.

This BBSRC-funded research could have significant impact on African agriculture. Working with various agencies, Dr John Carr and colleagues aim to help resource-poor farmers by deploying plants to act as aphid-decoys, drawing the insects away from crucial crops and halting the spread of infection through these farmers' livelihoods.

About this research, Dr Carr said: "The work started almost accidentally when about five years ago a student and I noticed that aphids became sick or died when confined on a virus-infected plant. It's an illustration of how research driven by curiosity can lead to findings that could have a positive impact in the real world - in this case in combating crop-damaging insects and the viruses they transmit."

The Cambridge team collaborated with researchers at Imperial College, London, using Arabidopsis plants as hosts and monitoring the effect that the crop-infecting cucumber mosaic virus had. It was observed that the virus launched a concerted attack on the plant's immune system whilst concurrently altering its biochemistry; in this way, the weakened Arabidopsis plant was unable to fight off either its attacker or visiting aphids. The aphids, instantly repelled by the smell and taste of the plant, left for healthier plants, but not before landing on the plant and contracting the virus. In this way, the mosaic virus ensured that the spread of the infection would be self-sustaining and highly efficient.

This research focuses on an example of what evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has called the 'extended phenotype'. For Dawkins, the word 'phenotype' (the traits of an organism) should not be limited solely to biological processes, but should also be used to describe all effects that a gene has on the organism or environment in which it exists, or other organisms nearby. In this case, it was discovered that a virus influences the infected host, the Arabidopsis plant, and forces the host to change in a way that is beneficial to the parasite.

This revolutionary research has been done as part of a 16-million initiative to use bioscience in the improvement of food security in developing countries. Bioscience is playing an increasingly crucial part in meeting the challenges of feeding an ever-expanding population, projected to increase to 9 billion people by 2050. By developing ways to mitigate pest impact and reduce the spread of parasites, scientists are working to ensure successful harvests, now and in the future.


'/>"/>

Contact: Sian Jones
Sian.jones@admin.cam.ac.uk
01-223-748-174
University of Cambridge
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Researchers capture structure of key part of deadly Nipah virus
2. Bleeding symptom leads scientists to intracellular traffickers role in virus propagation
3. Compound stymies polyomaviruses in lab tests
4. New test can diagnose emerging strains of canine parvovirus
5. New SARS-like coronavirus discovered in Chinese horseshoe bats
6. Model virus structure shows why theres no cure for common cold
7. Veterinary scientists track the origin of a deadly emerging pig virus in the United States
8. Single mutation gives virus new target
9. Flu virus wipes out immune systems first responders to establish infection
10. Researchers discover innate virus-killing power in mammals
11. Baculovirus-recognizing human cell receptor identified for the first time
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/16/2016)... , Dec. 16, 2016   IdentyTechSolutions America ... management products and solutions and a cutting-edge manufacturer ... that it is offering seamless, integrated solutions that ... entrance products. The solutions provide IdentyTech,s customers with ... their facilities from crime and theft. ...
(Date:12/16/2016)... NEW YORK , Dec. 16, 2016 The global ... reach USD 12.14 billion by 2021 from USD 5.31 billion in ... ... market is mainly driven by technological advancements in medical devices, launch ... devices, rising preference for wireless connectivity among healthcare providers, and increasing ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... Calif. , Dec. 15, 2016   WaferGen ... publicly held genomics technology company, announced today that on ... Listing Qualifications Department of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC ... closing bid price of WaferGen,s common stock had been ... Accordingly, WaferGen has regained compliance with Listing Rule 5550(a)(2) ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/24/2017)... 2017   Instrument Business Outlook ( ... MN ) the 2016 Company of the ... newsletter tracking developments in the analytical and life ... consistently achieved outstanding technical, operational and financial results ... of IBO. "In 2016, Bio-Techne capitalized on opportunities ...
(Date:1/23/2017)...  Spherix Incorporated (Nasdaq: SPEX ) an ... technology and monetization of intellectual property, today provided an ... Anthony Hayes , Chief Executive Officer of Spherix, ... communicate with shareholders about the status of existing monetization ... other patent assets that fit with our current holdings.  ...
(Date:1/23/2017)... PA (PRWEB) , ... January 23, 2017 , ... ... Thomas has been appointed Vice President, Preclinical Safety and Senior Director, Safety Pharmacology. ... of Madras in India. , Dr. Thomas’ career as an academic and ...
(Date:1/21/2017)... ... January 20, 2017 , ... G&L Scientific ... healthcare industry ( http://www.gandlscientific.com ), has announced the opening of new offices in ... scientific consultants and contractors. This is the latest step in G&L’s expansion of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: