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Vigna unguiculata as a model system for studying Soybean vein necrosis virus

Cristina Zambrana-Echevarria: University of Wisconsin-Madison

<div><em>Glycine max</em> (soybean) is a major crop grown for animal feed, vegetable oil, and protein for human consumption. <em>Soybean vein necrosis virus</em> (SVNV) is a member of the Tospoviridae and one of two viruses in the family reported to infect <em>G. max</em>. SVNV is transmitted by thrips in a persistent propagative manner and is notoriously difficult to manipulate in <em>G. max</em>. In order to further our understanding of the molecular biology of SVNV, we propose to use <em>Vigna unguiculata</em> as a model plant system. Inoculation with SVNV-infected thrips indicated <em>V. unguiculata</em> is highly susceptible to SVNV. Plants showed necrotic lesions on leaves, resulting in severe infection and eventual defoliation. SVNV was detected in symptomatic leaves with RT-PCR and by immunodetection of N protein. Virions were partially purified by ultracentrifugation. Typical tospovirus particles ranging in 80-120nm in diameter were observed using transmission electron microscopy and confirmed by RT-PCR. Compared to <em>G. max</em>, SVNV is much easier to manipulate and study in <em>V. unguiculata.</em> While, <em>V. unguiculata</em> has already been shown to be a host for SVNV, we have demonstrated its usefulness as a model plant system to study SVNV by optimizing detection methods, studying epidemiology, and improving our understanding of virus-host-plant-vector interactions<em>.</em></div>