Disease-Infected Thrips Feed More

Thrips — tiny insects that pierce and suck fluids from tomatoes, strawberries, and hundreds of other plant species — show altered feeding behavior when they’re infected with tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV), newly published research by University of California (UC) scientists reveals.

Male Western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis) infected with TSWV fed up to three times more than uninfected males, according to the research, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) by UC-Davis plant pathology doctoral candidate Candice Stafford and entomologists Gregory Walker of UC-Riverside and Diane Ullman of UC-Davis.

“Until now, behavioral changes in plant virus vectors have been observed only as a response to plant-host infection, and there have been no examples of vector infection with a plant virus altering feeding behavior,” the scientists wrote.

“Since plants do not move around to come in contact with one another, virus transmission from one host plant to another was a major hurdle for plant-infecting viruses to overcome,” said Walker, UC-Riverside professor of entomology. “To overcome this problem, most plant viruses have exploited the mobility of herbivorous insects, especially piercing-sucking insects, as a vehicle for transport from one plant to another.”

Walker said the study “demonstrates for the first time that a plant-infecting virus not only uses an insect for transport from an infected host to a new host, but also manipulates the behavior of the insect on the new host in order to maximize the probability that it will be successfully inoculated.”

Earlier research showed that males transmit TSWV more efficiently than females and that animal-infecting members of the virus family, Bunyaviridae — in which TSWV is classified — alter the feeding of their vectors.

Compelled by this knowledge, the UC scientists asked whether TSWV, a plant-infecting bunyavirus, may modify the feeding behavior of its vector, the Western flower thrips. When they examined infected and uninfected male and female thrips, infected males made almost three times more probes into the plants than uninfected males, including three times more non-ingestion probes (probes in which they salivate, but leave cells largely undamaged).

“These probes are especially important because TSWV infection requires a functional cell, so this probing behavior is predictive of virus transmission,” said Ullman, UC-Davis professor of entomology and associate dean for undergraduate academic programs in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

“I have always been intrigued by how parasites alter the behaviors of their vectors, and thought it was odd that such behavioral alterations have not been reported for vectors of plant infecting viruses,” said Stafford, whose major professor is Ullman. “Although several plant viruses infect their insect vectors, we have shown that vector infection by a plant virus alters feeding behavior, which has major implications for virus transmission.”

An increase in the number of times an insect probes into a plant increases the probability of virus transmission, the scientists noted. “Uninfected male thrips make very few probes and therefore their feeding behaviors are not conducive to virus transmission,” said Stafford. “However, when male thrips are infected with TSWV they make up to three times more probes than uninfected males and are more efficient vectors than female thrips. We hypothesize that this increase in feeding may also result in increased nutrition to counterbalance negative impacts virus infection has on fitness.”

Said Ullman: “We were also fascinated by the possibility that modification of vector-feeding behavior could be a conserved trait among plant and animal-infecting members of the Bunyaviridae that evolved as a mechanism to enhance virus transmission. The outcome of our research deeply underscores the evolutionary importance of vector behavioral modification to parasites infecting hosts in both plant and animal kingdoms.”

The research was supported by the UC-Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the graduate program of the UC-Davis Department of Plant Pathology.

Click here to read the full article.

Source: University of California Newsroom

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
anti-GMO corn spoof via social media
Crop Protection
July 25, 2016
Study: GMO Ban Would Hurt Economy And Environment
Food prices and greenhouse gas emissions would rise, according to paper by Purdue University agricultural economist. Read More
GAA winner Pero 2015
Farm Management
July 25, 2016
Seven Reasons You Need To Attend The United Fresh Washington Conference
Education sessions and Capitol Hill visits will focus on key issues, such as labor, facing the fresh produce industry. Read More
Photo by Rosemary Gordon
Tomatoes
July 25, 2016
New Research Uncovers Gene That May Be Key To Expanding Tomato Shelflife
Scientists identify a gene that encodes an enzyme which plays a pivotal role in controlling tomato softening. Read More
watermelon field R Gordon
Crop Protection
July 25, 2016
Organic Insect Control Product Available From BioWorks
The mycoinsecticide is EPA registered and controls a variety of insect pests. Read More
Marty McKenna presented with the 2016 Citrus Achievement Award
Citrus Achievement Award
July 25, 2016
Citrus Achievement Award Winner: Adapting To Challenges Has Its Rewards
Marty McKenna says hurdles like HLB forces growers to step up their game, which is a good thing. Read More
Marco Rubio tours a Central Florida citrus grove with industry dignitaries
Insect & Disease Update
July 22, 2016
Marco Rubio Backs Bill To Save Florida Citrus
Senator co-sponsors measure that would provide growers with incentives to plant more trees. Read More
Holly Rippon-Butler
GenNext Growers
July 22, 2016
Farming’s Next Generation Seeking Room To Grow
Several innovative resources are available to help first-time growers acquire the property they need. Read More
Live music woman playing guitar free image FEATURE
Farm Marketing
July 22, 2016
How To Book A Great Band For Your Festivals
Want to add live music to your fall festivals? Here's a step-by-step guide on how to find the right band for the right price. Read More
Valery Cordrey on a radio show
Farm Marketing
July 22, 2016
How To Entice The Local Press To Cover Your Farm Market
Sometimes getting publicity for your business is easier than you think. All you need to do is figure out how Read More
cantaloupe
Cucurbits
July 22, 2016
California Cantaloupe Growers To Celebrate First-Ever “Cantaloupe Week”
The Golden State’s cantaloupes are now in peak production from major areas in the San Joaquin Valley. Read More
The Latest
Crop Protection
July 25, 2016
Study: GMO Ban Would Hurt Economy And En…
Food prices and greenhouse gas emissions would rise, according to paper by Purdue University agricultural economist. Read More
Farm Management
July 25, 2016
Seven Reasons You Need To Attend The Uni…
Education sessions and Capitol Hill visits will focus on key issues, such as labor, facing the fresh produce industry. Read More
Tomatoes
July 25, 2016
New Research Uncovers Gene That May Be K…
Scientists identify a gene that encodes an enzyme which plays a pivotal role in controlling tomato softening. Read More
Crop Protection
July 25, 2016
Organic Insect Control Product Available…
The mycoinsecticide is EPA registered and controls a variety of insect pests. Read More
Citrus Achievement Award
July 25, 2016
Citrus Achievement Award Winner: Adaptin…
Marty McKenna says hurdles like HLB forces growers to step up their game, which is a good thing. Read More
Insect & Disease Update
July 22, 2016
Marco Rubio Backs Bill To Save Florida C…
Senator co-sponsors measure that would provide growers with incentives to plant more trees. Read More
GenNext Growers
July 22, 2016
Farming’s Next Generation Seeking …
Several innovative resources are available to help first-time growers acquire the property they need. Read More
Farm Marketing
July 22, 2016
How To Book A Great Band For Your Festiv…
Want to add live music to your fall festivals? Here's a step-by-step guide on how to find the right band for the right price. Read More
Farm Marketing
July 22, 2016
How To Entice The Local Press To Cover Y…
Sometimes getting publicity for your business is easier than you think. All you need to do is figure out how Read More
Cucurbits
July 22, 2016
California Cantaloupe Growers To Celebra…
The Golden State’s cantaloupes are now in peak production from major areas in the San Joaquin Valley. Read More
Farm Marketing
July 22, 2016
Find Out Where Growers Want To Sell Thei…
Earlier this year, we asked farm marketers which of their current business channels they would like to increase. Not surprisingly, Read More
Cucurbits
July 21, 2016
Study Shows Buckwheat Can Help Stifle Sq…
Unique cover crop choice attracts beneficial bugs, increasing pollination prospects and reducing insect threats. Read More
Citrus
July 21, 2016
Farm Labor Delays Taking Toll On Crops […
When it comes down to it, we have a choice to make. We either have to import our labor, or we'll have to import our food. Read More
Citrus
July 20, 2016
My First Trip To Cuba Proves Fruitful
The five-day journey was enlightening, providing participants with a better perspective of the state of agriculture in this country 90 miles off Florida’s coast. Read More
More Vegetables
July 19, 2016
So You Think You Can Grow Artichokes In …
Field trials are in progress to determine if this highly sought-after superfood can survive the swelter of the Sunshine State. Read More
Citrus
July 19, 2016
Funds Allocated To Address Impact Of Cli…
NIFA announces $8.4 for study and development of new approaches to mitigate effects of climate change. Read More
Disease Control
July 19, 2016
Open Your Eyes To Common Smut In Sweet C…
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this formidable fungus. Read More
Crop Protection
July 18, 2016
Early Infection Of Downy Mildew Confirme…
The pathogen has been confirmed in Michigan cucumbers in Bay County for the 2016 season. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]