First, fourth, and fifth authors: Department of Virology; and second and third authors: Department of Plant Genetics, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel
The effect that Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV)-infected resistant tomato plants may have on virus epidemiology was studied. Four tomato genotypes that exhibit different levels of viral resistance, ranging from fully susceptible to highly resistant, served as TYLCV-infected source plants. Viral acquisition and transmission rates by white-flies following feeding on the different source plants were evaluated. TYLCV transmission rate by whiteflies that had fed on infected source plants 21 days postinoculation (DPI), shortly after the appearance of TYLCV symptoms, was negatively correlated with the level of resistance displayed by the source plant. Therefore, the higher the resistance, the lower the transmission rate. In addition, TYLCV DNA accumulation was shown to be lower in the resistant source plants compared with the susceptible plants. Whitefly survival rate, following feeding on source plants 21 DPI, was similar for all the cultivars tested. Significant differences in whitefly survival were found, however, following feeding on the infected source plants at 35 DPI; here, whitefly survival rate increased with higher levels of resistance displayed by the source plant. At 35 DPI, the susceptible plants had developed severe TYLCV disease symptoms, and transmission rates from these plants were the lowest, presumably due to the poor condition of these plants. Transmission rates from source plants displaying a medium level of resistance level were highest, with rates declining following feeding on source plants displaying higher levels of TYLCV resistance. TYLCV DNA accumulation in whiteflies following feeding on infected source plants at both 21 and 35 DPI was directly correlated with viral DNA accumulation in source plants. Results show that, in essence, the higher the resistance expressed, the less suitable the plant was as a viral source. Consequently, following acquisition from a highly resistant plant, TYLCV transmission by whiteflies will be less efficient.