Four aphid species were tested for their ability to transmit tobacco etch (TEV) and turnip mosaic (TuMV) potyviruses. Myzus persicae and Aphis gossypii transmitted both viruses efficiently from infected plants, whereas Lipaphis erysimi transmitted only TuMV and Myzus ascalonicus was a poor or non-transmitter of either virus. Similar electrically monitored probing patterns were produced by M. persicae, L. erysimi and M. ascalonicus, ruling out behavioural differences as the cause of differential transmission. Transmission results similar to those from infected plants were obtained when these aphids acquired homologous virus/helper component (HC) mixtures through membranes. With heterologous virus/HC mixtures, M. persicae remained a highly efficient vector and M. ascalonicus a non-vector, but L. erysimi became an efficient vector of TEV if acquired in the presence of TuMV HC and A. gossypii transmitted both viruses less efficiently when acquired with TuMV HC. Transmission was highly correlated with the retention of virus in the stylets, as determined by autoradiography of 125I-labelled virions. The results show that constituent(s) of or in the food canal of different aphid species differ in their ability to interact with specific HCs, leading to qualitative or quantitative differences in ability to retain and subsequently transmit specific potyviruses.


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