The efficiency of transmission by of beet necrotic yellow vein virus (BNYVV) isolates containing different RNA components was compared using sugar-beet seedlings as test plants. Isolate S-4, containing RNA-1 + 2 + 4, was transmitted by about 100 times more efficiently than isolate S-3 (RNA-1 + 2 + 3) and about 1000 times more efficiently than isolate S-0 (RNA-1 + 2). Isolate S-34 (RNA-1 + 2 + 3 + 4) was transmitted even more efficiently than isolate S-4. Each isolate retained its characteristic RNA composition after transmission by . The virus content, measured by ELISA, of infected rootlets was S-34 > S-3 > S-4 > S-0. In inoculated leaves of and , isolates S-3 and S-34 multiplied more extensively than did S-4 and S-0. The inefficient transmission of isolate S-3 by , as compared with S-4, cannot be attributed to a poorer ability to spread in root tissue, but the difference in transmissibility of S-3 and S-0 may be explained in this way. These results show that RNA-4 of BNYVV is essential for efficient transmission by , and suggest that RNA-3 may influence the ability of the virus to spread in root tissue. RNA-4 and RNA-3 therefore seem to play important, but different, roles in virus survival and spread in nature.


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