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:3/31/2016)... , March 31, 2016  Genomics firm Nabsys has ... CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., who returned to ... the original technical leadership team, including Chief Technology Officer, ... Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice President of Software ... the company. Dr. Bready served as CEO ...
(Date:3/21/2016)... Unique technology combines v ... security   Xura, Inc. ... digital communications services, today announced it is working alongside ... customers, particularly those in the Financial Services Sector, the ... within a mobile app, alongside, and in combination with, ...
(Date:3/14/2016)... Florida , March 14, 2016 ... the growing mobile commerce market, announces the airing of a ... channels starting the week of March 21 st .  The ... CNBC, including its popular Squawk on the Street show. ... focused on the growing mobile commerce market, announces the airing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/20/2016)... San Diego, CA (PRWEB) , ... May 20, 2016 , ... ... announce that 10 of its most experienced veterinary clients have treated over 100 of ... this cutting edge technology to provide the highest level of care for their patients. ...
(Date:5/19/2016)... ... 19, 2016 , ... Anton Paar USA, located in Ashland, Virginia is pleased ... The new structure adds a third office building to the current facilities. , ... acres of land, along with office space adjacent to the previous main building. Through ...
(Date:5/19/2016)... May 19, 2016 ... (OTC PINK: RGBPP) announced today initiation of a ... cord blood based cancer immunotherapeutic product leveraging its ... Regen described a generation of cord blood derived ... gene silencing.  The product in development will be ...
(Date:5/18/2016)... 18, 2016 The Biotech industry continues ... mean that there are no opportunities ahead. Today, ActiveWallSt.com has ... THLD ), Seattle Genetics Inc. (NASDAQ: ... Ophthotech Corp. (NASDAQ: OPHT ). Sign up now ... http://www.activewallst.com/ Threshold Pharmaceuticals Inc.,s shares ...
Breaking Biology Technology: