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Family of Crop Viruses Shown at High Resolution for the First Time
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: October 25, 2019 03:34AM

For the first time, the world's deadliest crop killers are revealed at a
molecular level. The Luteoviridae are pathogenic viruses that cause major
crop losses worldwide. However, researchers have been unable to generate the
quantities of these viruses needed to study them in high resolution. Now a
group of researchers at John Innes Centre and the Astbury Biostructure
Laboratory at the University of Leeds used recent advances in plant
expression technology to derive sufficient quantities of the pathogen to
create a more detailed scrutiny with state of the art microscopy techniques.

The method the researchers used involves infiltrating a tobacco plant with
the genes necessary to create virus-like particles (VLPs). Using the VLPs,
the team observed the viral structures to high resolution by cryo-electron
microscopy. This provided, for the first time, a molecular-level insight
into how the luteovirid capsid forms and suggests how it is transmitted by

The Luteoviridae are transmitted by aphids, and infect a wide range of food
crops including cereals, legumes, cucurbits, sugar beets, sugarcane, and
potato. These viruses attack the plant vasculature which causes severe
stunting leading to crop loss. The family includes barley yellow dwarf virus
and potato leafroll virus.


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