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Interaction of Buchnera GroEL from Pentalonia nigronervosa with Banana bunchy top virus (Nanoviridae).
S. WATANABE (1), A. Bressan (1). (1) University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, U.S.A.

Circulative plant viruses, such as luteovirids and geminiviruses have been shown to specifically bind to GroEL proteins produced by endosymbiotic bacteria harbored within the hemipteran vectors. GroEL is a protein from the chaperonin family, and is known to get involved in several biological processes, including protein folding and subunit assembly. It has been suggested that GroEL protects circulative viruses from the proteolytic degradation occurring in the vector’s hemolymph. Similarly to luoteovirids and geminiviruses, <i>Banana bunchy top virus</i> (BBTV), a member of the family <i>Nanoviridae</i>, is transmitted in a persistent circulative manner, and can be detected in the hemolymph of the aphid vector, <i>Pentalonia nigronervosa.</i> To date, it is unknown if BBTV may interact with GroEL. In this study, we first localized bacterial endosymbionts within the bacteriomes of <i>P. nigronervosa</i>. Phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA and GroEL genes revealed this endosymbiont clustering into the <i>Buchnera</i> clade. Furthermore, a ~63 kDa protein was identified in western blotting assays in the hemolymph of <i>P. nigronervosa</i>. In vitro interaction assays were performed between <i>Buchnera</i> GroEL and BBTV by using dot-blot, far-western blotting, and Immunocapture PCR assays. However, we failed to obtain evidence for BBTV-GroEL interaction. Therefore, we suggest that unlike for other circulative viruses, BBTV might not interact with <i>Buchnera</i> GroEL in <i>P. nigronervosa</i>. <p><p>Keywords: Virus-Viroid, Tropical-Subtropical Crops, Banana

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