Thrips as the transmission bottleneck for mixed infection of two orthotospoviruses

Kaixi Zhao, Cristina Rosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Mixed infections provide opportunities for viruses to increase genetic diversity by facilitating genomic reassortment or recombination, and they may lead to the emergence of new virus species. Mixed infections of two economically important orthotospoviruses, Tomato spotted wilt orthotospovirus (TSWV) and Impatiens necrotic spot orthotospovirus (INSV), were found in recent years, but no natural reassortants between INSV and TSWV were ever reported. The goal of this study was to establish how vector preferences and the ability to transmit INSV and TSWV influence transmission and establishment of mixed infections. Our results demonstrate that thrips prefer to oviposit on TSWV and INSV mixed-infected plants over singly infected or healthy plants, providing young nymphs with the opportunity to acquire both viruses. Conversely, we observed that thrips served as a bottleneck during transmission and favored transmission of one of the two viruses over the second one, or over transmission of both viruses simultaneously. This constraint was relaxed in plants, when transmission of TSWV and INSV occurred sequentially, demonstrating that plants serve as orthotospovirus permissive hosts, while thrips serve as a bottleneck. Viral fitness, as measured by virus replication, transmission, and competition with other viral strains, is not well studied in mixed infection. Our study looks at the success of transmission during mixed infection of orthotopoviruses, enhancing the understanding of orthotospovirus epidemiology and evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number509
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Plant Science


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