|Are vectors the bottleneck for Orthotospoviruses' fitness during mixed-infection?
Kaixi Zhao: Penn State University
<div>In order to be efficiently transmitted from one plant to another, plant viruses induce chemical and physical changes in their plant hosts. In addition, plant viruses can modify the feeding preferences and/or behavior of their insect vectors to enhance transmission. Orthotospoviruses are thrips transmitted viruses that cause high economic losses to agriculture worldwide. Mixed-infections of Orthotospoviruses have been reported in recent years, but little is known about thrips preferences under mixed-infection conditions. Our study focuses on how Western flower thrips’ preference influences transmissibility of two Orthotospoviruses, <em>Tomato spotted wilt orthotospovirus</em> and<em> Impatiens necrotic spot orthotospovirus</em>, during mixed-infection and if vector preference is responsible for disease prevalence in different crops. Viral fitness during host-to-host transmission is considered to be an important part of overall viral fitness, and our study will enhance understanding of Orthotospovirus epidemiology.</div>