Aphids and aphid transmitted plant viruses cause significant economic loss to U.S. agriculture. Current control methods rely heavily on the use of chemical insecticides for reducing aphid populations. Research on the molecular interactions between a plant virus and its aphid vector has resulted in two virus-based strategies for management of insect pests and insect vectored disease.

We are working to identify the aphid receptors, and the receptor - binding domains on the surface of the luteovirus Pea enation mosaic virus (PEMV), that are involved in uptake of the virus from the gut into the hemocoel of the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum (Harris). Understanding the molecular mechanisms of recognition and uptake of plant viruses into their aphid vectors has allowed for development of new technologies for management of plant virus transmission (Liu et al., 2010), and of the aphid vectors of plant viruses (Bonning et al., 2014). In collaboration with Dr. Allen Miller, we demonstrated the potential for use of the coat protein of aphid-transmitted viruses for management of aphids. The coat protein of a luteovirus can serve to deliver insect-specific toxins from the gut into the hemocoel of both vector and non-vector aphids (see Bonning et al., 2014 below).

Related papers:

Bonning BC, Pal N, Liu S, Wang Z, Sivakumar S, Dixon PM, King GF, Miller WA. 2014. Toxin delivery by the coat protein of an aphid-vectored plant virus provides plant resistance to aphids. Nat. Biotechnol. 32(1):102-5. doi: 10.1038/nbt.2753.

Bonning BC, Chougule NP. 2014. Delivery of intrahemocoelic peptides for insect pest management.Trends Biotechnol. 2013 Dec 11. pii: S0167-7799(13)00177-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2013.08.001.

Liu, S., Sivakumar, S., Sparks, W.O., Miller, W.A., Bonning, B.C. 2010. A peptide that binds the pea aphid gut impedes entry of Pea enation mosaic virus into the aphid hemocoel. Virology 401 (1): 107-16

Sivakumar, S., Wang, Z., Harrison, R.L., Liu, S., Miller, W.A. and Bonning, B.C. 2009. Baculovirus-expressed virus-like particles of Pea enation mosaic virus vary in size and encapsidate baculovirus mRNAs. Virus Res. 139:54-63.

Liu, S., Sivakumar, S., Wang, Z., Bonning, B.C., Miller, W.A. 2009. The readthrough domain of Pea enation mosaic virus is not essential for virus stability in the hemolymph of the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum. Arch. Virol. 154 (3): 469-479

Liu, S., Bonning, B.C., Miller, W.A. 2006. A simple wax-embedding method for isolation of aphid hemolymph for detection of luteoviruses in the hemocoel. J. Virol. Methods 132 (1-2): 174-180.

See Digital Repository @ Iowa State University to download related publications.