Location: Emerging Pests and Pathogens Research
Project Number: 8062-22410-007-008-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement
Start Date: Jul 1, 2020
End Date: Jun 30, 2023
Viruses have optimized the use of their genomes to move between hosts. Insect-vectored viruses pose one of the greatest global threats to plant and animal health. Few effective strategies have been developed that control transmission of any insect-transmitted virus, and most have negative impacts on the environment and human health. The goal of this project is to develop and validate novel strategies that disrupt virus transmission by insects. Our work will focus on poleroviruses, which are plant viruses transmitted by aphids. Poleroviruses cause major economic damage in a wide range of crops. Virus structural proteins make up the protein shell, or capsid, of the virus. The virus remains encased in the capsid during aphid transmission. This project will determine how viral structural proteins regulate aphid transmission. Our data show that the structural protein that regulates aphid transmission forms a particular structure that is conserved among different poleroviruses, suggesting a conserved function in virus transmission by aphids. We will develop and optimize transmission blocking strategies using this form of the virus structural protein, characterize aphid proteins that bind to this structural protein and use tools from structural biology to visualize this protein in the virion at the atomic level. This work will generate new fundamental knowledge about aphid transmission of poleroviruses and help our team to optimize a strategy to block virus transmission to transfer to growers. The information will be widely applicable to other plant and animal viruses transmitted in a similar manner by various insect and other arthropod vectors.
The objectives of this proposal provide complementary data types to advance our understanding of luteovirid transmission by aphids. Our work will focus on poleroviruses, specifically Potato leafroll virus, which is an economic problem of potato in the US and around the world where potatoes are grown. The primary aphid vector, Myzus persicae, has a global distribution. Our primary goal is to determine how viral structural proteins regulate aphid transmission of the virus. This proposal will: Objective 1. Develop and optimize virus transmission blocking strategies Objective 2. Identify and functionally characterize aphid proteins interacting with the viral readthrough protein. Objective 3. Determine the structure of the readthrough protein that is incorporated into virions.