USDA Scientists Map Out Key Protein In Vector-Borne Viruses

Aphids

USDA scientists in Ithaca, NY, are collaborating on the development of a technology that could lead to new ways of disrupting how insects transmit viruses to crops.

Michelle Cilia and Stewart Gray at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture and Health in Ithaca, and their colleagues James Bruce and Juan Chavez at the University of Washington, have mapped out the structure of an elusive protein that gives certain plant viruses the ability to travel from plants to insects, through the insects, and back into plants.
 
To move from plant to plant, some viruses, such as potato leafroll virus, need to stay in the infected plant’s phloem tissues so they can be ingested by a feeding aphid. Once inside the aphid, the virus must pass through the insect’s gut and salivary tissues before it can be passed into another plant by the aphid.

To complete that journey, viruses need to assemble into larger packages known as virions. Each virus species is very particular and can only be transmitted by a few species of aphids. The researchers believe the outside shape or topology of the virion plays a major role in that specificity, determining whether a virus will move through the aphid and infect a plant.
 
A minor structural protein of these viruses that extends from the shell of the virion is instrumental in guiding the virion on its journey through the insect and through the plant. But until now, there has been no information about these structural proteins, and such information is crucial to developing new ways of disrupting how they work.

In tests with potato leafroll virus, the researchers used protein interaction reporter (PIR) technology, a tool developed in Bruce’s lab to study protein interactions. Researchers there developed a unique set of chemical compounds, or PIR cross-linkers, which could interact with the structural proteins, allowing scientists to capture a molecular snapshot of them.
 
Coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry, the advanced molecular design of the PIR cross-linkers also allowed the scientists to visualize critical topological features of the virion for the first time. The results, described in a paper in the Journal of Proteome Research, represent a new technology that can take measurements of insect and plant-virus protein interactions in living cells.
 
The researchers have so far focused on luteoviruses spread by aphids. But the technology could one day be used to study other insect-transmitted plant viruses and animal-infecting viruses now difficult to study with traditional methods.

Read more about this research, in the April 2013 issue of Agricultural Research magazine or click here.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Disease Control Stories
potato field
Crop Protection
November 21, 2016
Syngenta Announces New Fungicide Product Line
The Miravis brand contains a new active ingredient that is currently pending EPA approval. Read More
Rhizoctonia Root Rot
Disease Control
November 20, 2016
Rhizoctonia Pathogen A Major Bane To Beans
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this vegetable disease. Read More
Bacterial wilt symptoms in Florida blueberries
Berries
November 16, 2016
Florida Blueberry Growers Warned To Watch For New Deadly Disease
Pathogen has been confirmed on three farms so far. Read More
This watermelon seedling is showing Fusarium wilt symptoms. The first symptom that appears on infected plants is wilt in a single leaf or a single vine.
Photo credit: Kathryne Everts
Crop Protection
November 8, 2016
The Effect Of Soil Fertility On Fusarium Wilt In Watermelon
Ongoing research sheds light on the role soil health plays in the severity of the deadly pathogen in watermelon crops. Read More
Even with powerful electron microscopes, viruses cannot be identified based on particle shape. 
Pictured here are particles of tomato apex 
necrosis virus. Photo credit: B. W. Falk
Crop Protection
October 31, 2016
Zika And Zucchini Yellow Mosaic: Analogies Between Human- And Plant-Infecting Viruses
While we certainly do not equate the seriousness of Zika with agricultural problems, the Zika virus can serve as a reminder about aspects of the many plant-infecting viruses, from alfalfa mosaic to zucchini yellow mosaic, that affect vegetables. Read More
Photo credit:  Scott Bauer
Disease Control
September 9, 2016
Arizona Iceberg Lettuce Research Council Awards Grant To Focus On Lettuce Diseases
A recent survey indicates disease control and management were identified as the highest priority. Read More
Dickeya early symptoms for web
Crop Protection
September 3, 2016
Dickeya dianthicola: A New Threat To Potatoes
The disease, identified in Maine in 2014, has caused significant losses in potatoes on the Eastern Seaboard. Read More
The Latest
Crop Protection
November 30, 2016
The Effect Of Soil Fertility On Fusarium…
Ongoing research sheds light on the role soil health plays in the severity of the deadly pathogen. Read More
Crop Protection
November 28, 2016
Stave Off Sweet Potato Disease
Management can be made easier through variety selection and improved sanitation practices. Read More
Disease Control
November 28, 2016
Tips To Keep Your Stone Fruit Orchard Cl…
Managing serious plant diseases of peach and plums requires a cooperative approach. Read More
Crop Protection
November 21, 2016
Syngenta Announces New Fungicide Product…
The Miravis brand contains a new active ingredient that is currently pending EPA approval. Read More
Disease Control
November 20, 2016
Rhizoctonia Pathogen A Major Bane To Bea…
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this vegetable disease. Read More
Berries
November 16, 2016
Florida Blueberry Growers Warned To Watc…
Pathogen has been confirmed on three farms so far. Read More
Crop Protection
November 8, 2016
The Effect Of Soil Fertility On Fusarium…
Ongoing research sheds light on the role soil health plays in the severity of the deadly pathogen in watermelon crops. Read More
Crop Protection
October 31, 2016
Zika And Zucchini Yellow Mosaic: Analog…
While we certainly do not equate the seriousness of Zika with agricultural problems, the Zika virus can serve as a reminder about aspects of the many plant-infecting viruses, from alfalfa mosaic to zucchini yellow mosaic, that affect vegetables. Read More
Disease Control
September 9, 2016
Arizona Iceberg Lettuce Research Council…
A recent survey indicates disease control and management were identified as the highest priority. Read More
Crop Protection
September 3, 2016
Dickeya dianthicola: A New Threat To Po…
The disease, identified in Maine in 2014, has caused significant losses in potatoes on the Eastern Seaboard. Read More
Citrus
August 30, 2016
Scientists Fervent To Find Cure For Dead…
Now spreading to sorghum, yellow leaf malady could infect crops from Florida to Texas. Read More
Disease Control
August 23, 2016
Florida Sweet Corn Has New Deadly Stalke…
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this disease. Read More
Berries
August 4, 2016
Genetics Key To Keeping Strawberry Growe…
Savings to the tune of $30 million a year would come with a solution to angular leaf spot. 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
Crop Protection
July 18, 2016
Potato Growers: Be On The Lookout For Ne…
Standard measures have been typically less effective against new strains. Read More
Crop Protection
July 13, 2016
Dickeya: A New Potato Disease
The disease caused big losses last year; growers need to check fields for symptoms. Read More
Disease Control
July 7, 2016
Disease Reportedly Returns To California…
The pathogen, which was originally reported along the coast in 2013, was recently found in the Sacramento Delta area. Read More