Monday, October 19, 2020 - 3:35pm
Cristina Rosa

This seminar will present a broad overview of how plant: virus: vector interactions shape the development of plant diseases in agriculture, and how we can use these discoveries to improve plant health.

Since plants are protected by several chemical and physical barriers, plant viruses enter their host cells either via vectors or though breaches in the plant cell wall. Vectors need to locate plants, land, probe and feed on their hosts, as well as to decide if the plants are suitable hosts for nutrition and reproduction. 

Plant viruses transmitted by vectors manipulate their hosts to enhance and facilitate transmission, showing high degree of co-evolution with their hosts. Being able to interrupt the disease cycle or vector transmission is the only way to halt the transmission of viral diseases. However, even with the best control strategies, including virus- and pest-resistant crops, viruses can rapidly evolve to overcome barriers because of their evolutionary plasticity.  Control measures need to take into account the dynamics of virus populations in order to be durable. 

The outcome of viral disease and their dynamics are also influenced by environmental parameters, thus changes in the extent and severity of drought and temperature needs to be considered when planning virus disease management. As consequence, investigating the effects of warming temperatures on viral evolution, plant responses and vector preferences is of paramount importance. 

These recommendations can be integrated in IPM strategies aimed at management of viral diseases and at reduction of insecticide use at a global scale.