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The Importance of Plant Virus Transmission by Insect Vectors

Most plant viruses depend on insect vectors for their survival, transmission and spread. They transmit plant viruses by two principal modes, circulative (circulating through the insect?s haemocoel, CV) and non-circulative (carried on the cuticle lining of mouthparts or foregut, NC). Transmissibility and specificity between NC viruses and their vectors depend on the coat protein (CP) of the virus in addition to virus-encoded helper proteins. Circulative viruses cross the gut, circulate in the haemocoel and cross the salivary glands to render the insect infective. Circulative luteoviruses depend on small CP and the read-through protein (RTD) for transmission. Electrical penetration graphs have provided evidence on insect feeding behaviour and virus transmission. Recently, studies have shown that viruses can modify vector behaviour in a way that transmission is enhanced. Cultural, physical and novel biotechnological tools can provide virus control by interfering with vector landing and the retention of viruses in their vectors.