Outcomes of co-infection by two potyviruses: Implications for the evolution of manipulative strategies

Lucie Salvaudon, Consuelo M. De Moraes, Mark C. Mescher

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86 Scopus citations


Recent studies have documented effects of plant viruses on host plants that appear to enhance transmission by insect vectors. But, almost no empirical work has explored the implications of such apparent manipulation for interactions among co-infecting pathogens. We examined single and mixed infections of two potyviruses, watermelon mosaic virus WMV and zucchini yellow mosaic virus ZYMV, that frequently co-occur in cucurbitaceae populations and share the same aphid vectors. We found that ZYMV isolates replicated at similar rates in single and mixed infections, whereasWMV strains accumulated to significantly lower levels in thepresence ofZYMV. Furthermore, ZYMV induced changes in leaf colour and volatile emissions that enhanced aphid Aphis gossypii recruitment to infected plants. By contrast, WMV did not elicit strong effects on plant-aphid interactions. Nevertheless, WMV was still readily transmitted from mixed infections, despite fairing poorly in in-plant competition. These findings suggest that pathogen effects on host-vector interactions may well influence competition among co-infecting pathogens. For example, if non-manipulative pathogens benefit from the increased vector traffic elicited by manipulative competitors, their costs of competition may be mitigated to some extent. Conversely, the benefits of manipulation may be limited by free-rider effects in systems where there is strong competition among pathogens for host resources and/or access to vectors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20122772
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1756
StatePublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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