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Annu Rev Phytopathol. 1996;34:227-47.

Helper-dependent vector transmission of plant viruses.

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Department of Plant Pathology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40546, USA.


A variety of noncirculatively transmitted viruses have evolved a vector transmission strategy that involves, in addition to virions, virus-encoded proteins that are not constituents of virions. These "helpers" and the genes encoding them have been characterized for viruses in the genera Potyvirus and Caulimovirus. Several lines of evidence support the hypothesis that these helpers act by mediating retention of virions in regions of the vector's alimentary tract from which they subsequently can be egested to initiate an infection. The possible advantage this convergently evolved strategy could confer to noncirculatively transmitted virus quasispecies is discussed.

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