Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: GLASSY-WINGED SHARPSHOOTER AND PIERCE'S DISEASE

Location: Subtropical Insects and Horticulture Research

Title: Prevalence and natural host range of Homalodisca coagulata virus-1 (HoCV-1)

Authors
item Hunnicutt, Laura
item Mozoruk, Jerry
item Hunter, Wayne
item Crosslin, James
item Cave, Ron - UNIV OF FLORIDA
item Powell, Charles - UNIV OF FLORIDA

Submitted to: Archives of Virology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 27, 2007
Publication Date: September 28, 2007
Citation: Hunnicutt, L.E., Mozoruk, J.J., Hunter, W.B., Crosslin, J., Cave, R., Powell, C. 2007. Prevalence and natural host range of Homalodisca coagulata virus-1 (HoCV-1). Archives of Virology. 153:61-67.

Interpretive Summary: The distribution of the newly discovered leafhopper-infecting virus was examined throughout the USA. Few biological control agents exist for use against leafhoppers. The virus, HoCV-1, may be a new pathogen which will aid in the reduction of leafhopper pests. The virus causes increased death in leafhoppers and was isolated from the insect known as the glassy-winged sharpshooter, GWSS, which is a major agricultural pest due to their ability to spread a plant infecting bacteria. The bacteria, Xylella fastidiosa, causes Pierce’s disease of grapes, and many other ‘Scorch-like’ diseases of woody fruit and ornamental crops, causing fruit loss, and plant death. The virus, HoCV-1, is a potential biological control agent due to its ability to infect and reduce GWSS populations as witnessed in California sharpshooter populations. We evaluated how broad the occurrence of the virus was in other sharpshooter populations within the U.S.A. Transmission electron microscopy was used to confirm the presence of virus particles shown to be Homalodisca coagulata virus-1 (HoCV-1) in the midgut region of adult GWSS. In addition, we developed a highly sensitive diagnostic method, “reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay” for the detection of HoCV-1 in sharpshooter populations. A survey employing this assay in conjunction with GWSS samples collected throughout the United States including California, Hawaii, Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas revealed a fairly widespread pattern of distribution. The virus appears to be potentially restricted to temperate regions, areas with elevated leafhopper densities, or to leafhopper populations of a common origin. The virus was found to naturally infect adults regardless of host plant and was not specific to a particular lifestage or gender. Examination of alternate leafhopper species further demonstrated that, although infection is not ubiquitous to all sharpshooters, HoCV-1 is not limited to just the GWSS, Homalodisca vitripennis. The virus may well have applications in reducing other leafhopper populations.

Technical Abstract: The distribution of a potential biological agent, the newly discovered leafhopper-infecting virus, HoCV-1 was examined across the USA. Few biological agents exist for use against leafhopper pests. We examined and compared leafhopper salivary gland and midgut tissues using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to confirm the presence of a virus shown to be Homalodisca coagulata virus-1 (HoCV-1), in the family Dicistroviridae, occurred in the midgut region of adult glassy-winged sharpshooters (GWSS). In addition, we offer a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay for the detection of HoCV-1 with a sensitivity of ~95 genome equivalents. A survey employing this assay in conjunction with GWSS samples collected throughout the United States including California, Hawaii, Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas revealed a fairly widespread pattern of distribution, although potentially restricted to temperate regions, areas with elevated leafhopper densities, or within populations with a common origin. The virus was found to naturally infect adults regardless of host plant and was not specific to a particular lifestage or sex. Examination of alternate leafhopper species further demonstrated that, although infection is not ubiquitous to all sharpshooter genera, HoCV-1 is not limited to Homalodisca vitripennis, the GWSS, and may have application as a biological control agent of other leafhopper species.

Last Modified: 8/21/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page