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Transmission of Grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3 by the Vine Mealybug (Planococcus ficus)

October 2008 , Volume 98 , Number  10
Pages  1,093 - 1,098

C.-W. Tsai, J. Chau, L. Fernandez, D. Bosco, K. M. Daane, and R. P. P. Almeida

First, second, third, fifth, and sixth authors: Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley 94720; and fourth author: Di, Va.P.R.A., Entomologia e Zoologia applicate all'Ambiente, Universitá degli Studi di Torino, Via L. da Vinci, 44, Grugliasco (TO), 10095 Italy.

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Accepted for publication 19 June 2008.

Grapevine leafroll disease is caused by grapevine leafroll-associated viruses (GLRaVs). Within this virus complex, GLRaV-3 is the predominant species in the world. Several GLRaVs have been shown to be transmitted from vine to vine by mealybugs although a detailed characterization of transmission biology is lacking. The introduction of the vine mealybug (Planococcus ficus) in California and other regions of the world may result in increasing disease incidence of established GLRaVs. We studied the characteristics of GLRaV-3 transmission by the vine mealybug. Our results indicate that the vine mealybug transmits GLRaV-3 in a semipersistent manner. First instars were more efficient vectors than adult mealybugs. GLRaV-3 transmission lacked a latent period in the vector. Virus transmission occurred with a 1-h acquisition access period (AAP) and peaked with a 24-h AAP. Mealybugs inoculated GLRaV-3 with a 1-h inoculation access period (IAP), and transmission efficiency increased with longer plant access period up to 24 h, after which transmission rate remained constant. After an AAP of 24 h, mealybugs lost GLRaV-3 and infectivity 4 days after virus acquisition. In addition, GLRaV-3 was not transovarially transmitted from infected females to their progeny as detected by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. In summary, we systematically analyzed transmission parameters of GLRaV-3 by the vine mealybug and showed that transmission of this virus occurs in a semipersistent manner. This research fills in important gaps in knowledge of leafroll virus transmission, which is critical for development of leafroll disease management practices.

Additional keywords:ampelovirus, closteroviridae.

© 2008 The American Phytopathological Society