- Can plants use an entomopathogenic virus as defense against herbivores?
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- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
It is by now well established that plants use various strategies to defend themselves against herbivores. Besides conventional weapons such as spines and stinging hairs and sophisticated chemical defenses, plants can also involve the enemies of the herbivores in
their defense. It has been suggested that plants could even use entomopathogens as part of their defense strategies. In this paper, we show that Brassica oleraceae plants that are attacked by Myzus persicae aphids infected with an entomopathogenic parvovirus (M. persicae densovirus) transport the virus through the phloem locally and systematically. Moreover, healthy aphids that fed on the same leaf, but separated from infected aphids were infected via the plant. Hence, this is proof of the principle that plants can be vectors of an insect virus and can possibly use this virus as a defense against herbivores.
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