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PLoS One. 2011;6(8):e23241. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0023241. Epub 2011 Aug 10.

VAPA, an innovative "virus-acquisition phenotyping assay" opens new horizons in research into the vector-transmission of plant viruses.

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Equipe CaGeTE, INRA, UMR BGPI, Campus International de Baillarguet, Montpellier, France.


Host-to-host transmission--a key step in plant virus infection cycles--is ensured predominantly by vectors, especially aphids and related insects. A deeper understanding of the mechanisms of virus acquisition, which is critical to vector-transmission, might help to design future virus control strategies, because any newly discovered molecular or cellular process is a potential target for hampering viral spread within host populations. With this aim in mind, an aphid membrane-feeding assay was developed where aphids transmitted two non-circulative viruses [cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) and turnip mosaic virus] from infected protoplasts. In this assay, virus acquisition occurs exclusively from living cells. Most interestingly, we also show that CaMV is less efficiently transmitted by aphids in the presence of oryzalin--a microtubule-depolymerising drug. The example presented here demonstrates that our technically simple "virus-acquisition phenotyping assay" (VAPA) provides a first opportunity to implement correlative studies relating the physiological state of infected plant cells to vector-transmission efficiency.

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