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Insect-to-insect horizontal transmission of a phytoreovirus in the absence of an infected plant host

Drake C. Stenger, Rodrigo Krugner
Virology 2021 v.562 pp. 87-91
Citrus, Homalodisca vitripennis, Phytoreovirus, cowpeas, females, host plants, imagos, immunity, insect vectors, nymphs, progeny, secondary transmission, seedlings, vertical disease transmission, viral diseases of plants, virion, virus transmission, xylem
Vertical transmission of Homalodisca vitripennis reovirus (HoVRV) from glassy-winged sharpshooter (GWSS, Homalodisca vitripennis (Germar)) females to progeny occurred in laboratory assays at frequencies too low (2.6%–15.4%) to account for HoVRV incidence (90–100%) in field populations resident in citrus. Because citrus is immune to HoVRV and no plant host is known, horizontal transmission of HoVRV from insect-to-insect was evaluated. Exposure of colony-reared, virus-free test nymphs to HoVRV-infected source adults held in the same cage for 10 days on virus-immune cowpea resulted in HoVRV transmission (13.3%–30.7%) to test nymphs. HoVRV was not transmitted when exposure was indirect and required passive movement of virions through the xylem of immune citrus seedlings. Collectively, these results demonstrate direct insect-to-insect horizontal transmission of HoVRV, providing a plausible explanation for high incidence of HoVRV in GWSS field populations in the absence of efficient vertical transmission or a plant host.