Replication of Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus in Its Whitefly Vector, Bemisia tabaci. J Virol 2015
UNLABELLED: Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) is a begomovirus transmitted exclusively by the whitefly Bemisia tabaci in a persistent, circulative manner. Replication of TYLCV in its vector remains controversial, and thus far, the virus has been considered to be nonpropagative. Following 8 h of acquisition on TYLCV-infected tomato plants or purified virions and then transfer to non-TYLCV-host cotton plants, the amounts of virus inside whitefly adults significantly increased (>2-fold) during the first few days and then continuously decreased, as measured by the amounts of genes on both virus DNA strands. Reported alterations in insect immune and defense responses upon virus retention led us to hypothesize a role for the immune response in suppressing virus replication. After virus acquisition, stress conditions were imposed on whiteflies, and the levels of three viral gene sequences were measured over time. When whiteflies were exposed to TYLCV and treatment with two different pesticides, the virus levels continuously increased. Upon exposure to heat stress, the virus levels gradually decreased, without any initial accumulation. Switching of whiteflies between pesticide, heat stress, and control treatments caused fluctuating increases and decreases in virus levels. Fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis confirmed these results and showed virus signals inside midgut epithelial cell nuclei. Combining the pesticide and heat treatments with virus acquisition had significant effects on fecundity. Altogether, our results demonstrate for the first time that a single-stranded DNA plant virus can replicate in its hemipteran vector.
IMPORTANCE: Plant viruses in agricultural crops are of great concern worldwide. Many of them are transmitted from infected to healthy plants by insects. Persistently transmitted viruses often have a complex association with their vectors; however, most are believed not to replicate within these vectors. Such replication is important, as it contributes to the virus's spread and can impact vector biology. Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) is a devastating begomovirus that infects tomatoes. It is persistently transmitted by the whitefly Bemisia tabaci but is believed not to replicate in the insect. To demonstrate that TYLCV is, in fact, propagative (i.e., it replicates in its insect host), we hypothesized that insect defenses play a role in suppressing virus replication. We thus exposed whitefly to pesticide and heat stress conditions to manipulate its physiology, and we showed that under such conditions, the virus is able to replicate and significantly influence the insect's fecundity.
The Tomato yellow leaf curl virus V2 protein forms aggregates depending on the cytoskeleton integrity and binds viral genomic DNA. Sci Rep 2015
The spread of Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) was accompanied by the formation of coat protein (CP) aggregates of increasing size in the cytoplasm and nucleus of infected tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) cells. In order to better understand the TYLCV-host interaction, we investigated the properties and the subcellular accumulation pattern of the non-structural viral protein V2. CP and V2 are the only sense-oriented genes on the virus circular single-stranded DNA genome. Similar to CP, V2 localized to cytoplasmic aggregates of increasing size and as infection progressed was also found in nuclei, where it co-localized with CP. V2 was associated with viral genomic DNA molecules, suggesting that V2 functions as a DNA shuttling protein. The formation and the 26S proteasome-mediated degradation of V2 aggregates were dependent on the integrity of the actin and microtubule cytoskeleton. We propose that the cytoskeleton-dependent formation and growth of V2 aggregates play an important role during TYLCV infection, and that microtubules and actin filaments are important for the delivery of V2 to the 26S proteasome.