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Title: Aphid-borne viruses of potato : investigations into virus/host/vector interactions, serological detection using recombinant antibodies and control strategies
Authors: Al-Mrabeh, Ahmad
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Potato is one of the most important food crops in the world, and viruses are largely responsible for the degeneration of this vegetatively propagated crop. At least 35 viruses have been reported to infect potato naturally. The majority and the most economically important ones are vectored by aphids. The objective of this study was to conduct molecular and biological investigations into virus transmission mechanisms, including developing diagnostic methods to help to control the spread of aphid-borne potato viruses, and disrupting the vectoring ability of their aphid vectors by insecticide spray. One way to control the spread of aphid-borne viruses is to control their aphid vector, but this is not always feasible as the majority of aphid-borne potato viruses, including the most important ones, are transmitted non-persistently, being acquired within a very short time before agrochemicals can act. Thus an alternative approach to controlling this class of viruses is through a full understanding of the interaction between the virus, the host plant and the aphid vector, which was the first objective of this project. In this respect, some aphid cuticle proteins were identified to interact with potato virus Y helper component (HC-Pro) through screening of an aphid cDNA expression library, and their potential role in virus transmission was discussed. Moreover, the concept of short retention of non-persistent viruses inside their aphid vectors was challenged; the results show that PVY can be retained inside its aphid vector for a long time but it is not transmissible. This novel finding together with binding to aphid cuticle proteins, generated some new ideas about transmission mechanisms that were proposed and discussed. In addition, the effect on aphid vectoring ability of the plants used to rear aphid colonies, as a virus source, and as a virus recipient was investigated. From laboratory studies of aphid transmission, it was concluded that the transmission efficiency of PVY was significantly affected by the host plant species used to rear M. persicae, or that used as a virus recipient plant. The availability of sensitive and cheap virus detection methods is critical for early detection and control of potato viruses. In this project a sensitive fully recombinant ELISA was developed and validated for routine testing of potato leafroll virus. This technology can be applied to detect other potato viruses and has the potential to replace the commonly used immune reagent antisera.
Description: PhD thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Biology

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