Two Spanish plum pox virus (PPV) isolates, 5.15 and 3.3, were used in transmission experiments involving the aphid vector , with woody and herbaceous host plants. These isolates differ in the size of their coat protein (CP) and sequence analysis revealed that isolate 3.3 has a 15 amino acid deletion near the N terminus of the CP, affecting the same positions as in a previously reported non-aphid-transmissible PPV isolate from Germany. Aphid transmission experiments showed that isolate 5.15 was transmitted from infected plants whereas isolate 3.3 was not. In contrast, both isolates were readily aphid-transmitted when acquired through artificial membranes from purified virus preparations supplemented with purified helper component (HC) obtained from potato virus Y-infected plants. This indicates that non-transmissibility of isolate 3.3 may be due to a defect in the HC rather than in the CP.


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