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Dissecting the Mode of Maize Chlorotic Mottle Virus Transmission (Tombusviridae: Machlomovirus) by Frankliniella williamsi (Thysanoptera: Thripidae)

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Maize chlorotic mottle virus (MCMV) (Tombusviridae: Machlomovirus) has been recorded in Hawaii (Kauai Island) since the early 1990s and has since become one of the most widespread corn viruses in the Hawaiian Islands. In the United States Mainland, MCMV has been reported to be transmitted by six different species of chrysomelid beetles, including the western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte. However, none of these beetle species have been reported in Hawaii where the corn thrips, Frankliniella williamsi Hood (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) has been identified to be the main vector. In this study, we developed leaf disk transmission assays and real time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction to examine the mode of MCMV transmission by the corn thrips. We showed that thrips transmitted the virus with no evidence for latent periods. Both larvae and adults transmitted the virus for up to 6 d after acquisition, with decreasing rates of transmission as time progressed. There was no evidence that adult thrips that acquired the virus as larvae were competent vectors. Real time reverse-transcription polomerase chain reaction assays showed that viral load was depleted from the vector's body after thrips had access to healthy plant tissue. Depletion of viral load was also observed when thrips matured from larvae to adults. Thrips were able to transmit MCMV after acquisition and inoculation access periods of 3 h. However, transmission efficiency increased with longer acquisition and inoculation access periods. Taken altogether our data suggests that corn thrips transmit MCMV in a semipersistent manner. To our knowledge, this is the first work reporting evidence of a plant virus transmitted semipersistently by thrips.

Keywords: leaf disk transmission assay; semipersistent; vector

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/EC12056

Publication date: February 1, 2013

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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