To date, viroids are known as the smallest plant pathogens on earth. In potatoes (S. tuberosum, L.), Potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd) causes a severe, spindle-like malformation of the tubers and dwarfing, rolling and twisting of the foliage, leading to important agricultural losses . Because of its potential economic impact, PSTVd is a quarantine pest in Europe. Next to PSTVd, also other members of the family Pospiviroidae infect Solanaceous species. Whether these pospiviroids are transmitted in a non-mechanical way through insects is still unclear. In this study, pest species, such as aphids, are tested for viroid presence and transmission by means of techniques such as RT-qPCR and confocal microscopy, and small-scale transmission experiments. Next to direct transmission, there is the possibility that viroid RNA is co-encapsulated within the virion (e.g. Potato leafroll virus, PLRV). This phenomenon is called trans-encapsidation and might have large epidemiological consequences. Using the virus as a transport vehicle, viroids might ultimately (co-)infect host plants of the virus. Trans-encapsidation can be visualized by means of transmission electron microscopy, or demonstrated via virus purification, micrococcal nuclease treatment and (q)RT-PCR. Here, we give an overview of our results on viroid localization in plants, insects and viruses. Finally, we summarize the epidemiological consequences of this work.
|Title of host publication||Abstract book 19th triennial conference EAPR|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
|Event||19th Triennial Conference of the European Association for Potato Research - Merelbeke, Brussel, Belgium|
Duration: 6-Jul-2014 → 11-Jul-2014