Characterisation of the tritrophic interactions between tobacco yellow dwarf virus, its vector and host-plants

Trębicki, Piotr (2010) Characterisation of the tritrophic interactions between tobacco yellow dwarf virus, its vector and host-plants. PhD by Publication, Queensland University of Technology.


Tobacco yellow dwarf virus (TbYDV, family Geminiviridae, genus Mastrevirus) is an economically important pathogen causing summer death and yellow dwarf disease in bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.), respectively. Prior to the commencement of this project, little was known about the epidemiology of TbYDV, its vector and host-plant range. As a result, disease control strategies have been restricted to regular poorly timed insecticide applications which are largely ineffective, environmentally hazardous and expensive. In an effort to address this problem, this PhD project was carried out in order to better understand the epidemiology of TbYDV, to identify its host-plant and vectors as well as to characterise the population dynamics and feeding physiology of the main insect vector and other possible vectors. The host-plants and possible leafhopper vectors of TbYDV were assessed over three consecutive growing seasons at seven field sites in the Ovens Valley, Northeastern Victoria, in commercial tobacco and bean growing properties. Leafhoppers and plants were collected and tested for the presence of TbYDV by PCR. Using sweep nets, twenty-three leafhopper species were identified at the seven sites with Orosius orientalis the predominant leafhopper. Of the 23 leafhopper species screened for TbYDV, only Orosius orientalis and Anzygina zealandica tested positive. Forty-two different plant species were also identified at the seven sites and tested. Of these, TbYDV was only detected in four dicotyledonous species, Amaranthus retroflexus, Phaseolus vulgaris, Nicotiana tabacum and Raphanus raphanistrum. Using a quadrat survey, the temporal distribution and diversity of vegetation at four of the field sites was monitored in order to assess the presence of, and changes in, potential host-plants for the leafhopper vector(s) and the virus. These surveys showed that plant composition and the climatic conditions at each site were the major influences on vector numbers, virus presence and the subsequent occurrence of tobacco yellow dwarf and bean summer death diseases. Forty-two plant species were identified from all sites and it was found that sites with the lowest incidence of disease had the highest proportion of monocotyledonous plants that are non hosts for both vector and the virus. In contrast, the sites with the highest disease incidence had more host-plant species for both vector and virus, and experienced higher temperatures and less rainfall. It is likely that these climatic conditions forced the leafhopper to move into the irrigated commercial tobacco and bean crop resulting in disease. In an attempt to understand leafhopper species diversity and abundance, in and around the field borders of commercially grown tobacco crops, leafhoppers were collected from four field sites using three different sampling techniques, namely pan trap, sticky trap and sweep net. Over 51000 leafhopper samples were collected, which comprised 57 species from 11 subfamilies and 19 tribes. Twentythree leafhopper species were recorded for the first time in Victoria in addition to several economically important pest species of crops other than tobacco and bean. The highest number and greatest diversity of leafhoppers were collected in yellow pan traps follow by sticky trap and sweep nets. Orosius orientalis was found to be the most abundant leafhopper collected from all sites with greatest numbers of this leafhopper also caught using the yellow pan trap. Using the three sampling methods mentioned above, the seasonal distribution and population dynamics of O. orientalis was studied at four field sites over three successive growing seasons. The population dynamics of the leafhopper was characterised by trimodal peaks of activity, occurring in the spring and summer months. Although O. orientalis was present in large numbers early in the growing season (September-October), TbYDV was only detected in these leafhoppers between late November and the end of January. The peak in the detection of TbYDV in O. orientalis correlated with the observation of disease symptoms in tobacco and bean and was also associated with warmer temperatures and lower rainfall. To understand the feeding requirements of Orosius orientalis and to enable screening of potential control agents, a chemically-defined artificial diet (designated PT-07) and feeding system was developed. This novel diet formulation allowed survival for O. orientalis for up to 46 days including complete development from first instar through to adulthood. The effect of three selected plant derived proteins, cowpea trypsin inhibitor (CpTi), Galanthus nivalis agglutinin (GNA) and wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), on leafhopper survival and development was assessed. Both GNA and WGA were shown to reduce leafhopper survival and development significantly when incorporated at a 0.1% (w/v) concentration. In contrast, CpTi at the same concentration did not exhibit significant antimetabolic properties. Based on these results, GNA and WGA are potentially useful antimetabolic agents for expression in genetically modified crops to improve the management of O. orientalis, TbYDV and the other pathogens it vectors. Finally, an electrical penetration graph (EPG) was used to study the feeding behaviour of O. orientalis to provide insights into TbYDV acquisition and transmission. Waveforms representing different feeding activity were acquired by EPG from adult O. orientalis feeding on two plant species, Phaseolus vulgaris and Nicotiana tabacum and a simple sucrose-based artificial diet. Five waveforms (designated O1-O5) were observed when O. orientalis fed on P. vulgaris, while only four (O1-O4) and three (O1-O3) waveforms were observed during feeding on N. tabacum and the artificial diet, respectively. The mean duration of each waveform and the waveform type differed markedly depending on the food source. This is the first detailed study on the tritrophic interactions between TbYDV, its leafhopper vector, O. orientalis, and host-plants. The results of this research have provided important fundamental information which can be used to develop more effective control strategies not only for O. orientalis, but also for TbYDV and other pathogens vectored by the leafhopper.

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ID Code: 39550
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD by Publication)
Supervisor: Harding, Robert, Powell, Kevin, & Rodoni, Brendan
Keywords: virus, vector, tobacco, TbYDV, epidemiology, Orosius orientalis, leafhopper, population dynamics, Geminiviridae, artificial diet, lectins, feeding behaviour, EPG
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 19 Jan 2011 04:55
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2017 14:43

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