Maize Iranian mosaic virus (family Rhabdoviridae) improves biological traits of its vector Laodelphax striatellus
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Plant viruses can alter the behavior or performance of their arthropod vectors, either indirectly (through effects of virus infection on the host plant) or directly (from virus acquisition by the vector). Given the diversity of plant viruses and their arthropod vectors, the effects for any specific system are not possible to predict. Here, we present experimental evidence that acquisition of maize Iranian mosaic virus (MIMV, genus Nucleorhabdovirus, family Rhabdoviridae) modifies the biological traits of its insect vector, the small brown planthopper (SBPH) Laodelphax striatellus. MIMV is an economically important virus of maize and several other grass species. It is transmitted by SBPHs in a persistent-propagative manner. We evaluated the effects of MIMV acquisition by SBPH on its life history when reared on healthy barley plants (Hordeum vulgare). We conclude that 1) MIMV acquisition by SBPHs increases female fecundity, duration of the nymph stage, adult longevity, and survival of SBPHs, (2) the mortality rate and female-to-male sex ratio are reduced in MIMV-infected planthoppers, and (3) MIMV infection increases the concentration of some biochemical components of the infected plants, including carbohydrates, some amino acids, and total protein, which might influence the life traits of its insect vector. The results indicate the potential of MIMV to improve the ecological fitness of its vector, SBPH, through direct or indirect effects, with the potential to increase the spread of the virus.
The authors would like to thank the Plant Virology Research Center for supporting this research in the College of Agriculture, Shiraz University, Shiraz-Iran.
Compliance with ethical standards
All authors contributed critically to the drafts and gave final approval for publication. This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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