Plant viruses are threatening many valuable crops, and Citrus tristeza virus
(CTV) is considered one of the most economically important plant viruses. CTV has destroyed millions of citrus trees in many regions of the world. Consequently, understanding of the transmission mechanism of CTV by its main vector, the brown citrus aphid, Aphis
may lead to better control strategies for CTV. The objective of this study was to understand the CTV–vector relationship by exploring the influence of viral genetic diversity on virus transmission. We built several infectious clones with different 5′-proximal ends from different CTV strains and assessed their transmission by the brown citrus aphid. Replacement of the 5′- end of the T36 isolate with that of the T30 strain (poorly transmitted) did not increase the transmission rate of T36, whereas replacement with that of the T68-1 isolate (highly transmitted) increased the transmission rate of T36 from 1.5 to 23%. Finally, substitution of p33
gene of the T36 strain with that of T68 increased the transmission rate from 1.5% to 17.8%. Although the underlying mechanisms that regulate the CTV transmission process by aphids have been explored in many ways, the roles of specific viral proteins are still not explicit. Our findings will improve our understanding of the transmission mechanisms of CTV by its aphid vector and may lead to the development of control strategies that interfere with its transmission by vector.
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