Aphids transmitted poly--ornithine (PLO)-treated tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) when given acquisition and inoculation access periods as brief as 30 s and 2 min, respectively; the ability to transmit was lost within 90 min. Aphids without claws were able to transmit the virus. Transmission thus seems similar to that of non-persistent viruses.

The ratio of virus to polyamino acid, as well as the KCl concentration, markedly affected transmission. Transmission was best from mixtures which contained 250 µg/ml TMV, 2.5 µg/ml PLO (mol. wt. 120000) and 0.6 -KCl. A similar mixture favoured transmission when poly--lysine (mol. wt. 85000) was substituted for PLO, but with poly--lysine (mol. wt. 30000) it was necessary to decrease the KCl to 0.3 to obtain transmission. Less KCl (0.08 to 0.24 ) also favoured aphid transmission of PLO-treated potato virus X and tobacco rattle virus. PLO-treated TMV ultracentrifuged in the presence of, and resuspended in, 0.6 -KCl remained aphid transmissible while PLO-treated virus in 2 -KCl, which favours greater dissociation of the virus-PLO complex, was transmissible neither before nor after sedimentation by ultracentrifuging, and resuspension in 0.6 -KCl. These results show that transmissibility is not due to a permanent alteration of the virus by PLO and indicate that the formation of a TMV-PLO complex is required for transmission. Sequential acquisition experiments suggest that PLO may act by binding TMV to receptor sites in aphids. However, the possibility that PLO affects the infection process was not ruled out.


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