Emerging Plant Viruses: a Diversity of Mechanisms and Opportunities

  • Maria R. Rojas
  • Robert L. Gilbertson

Although emerging plant viruses receive much less publicity than their animal- or human-infecting cousins, they pose a serious threat to worldwide agricultural production. These viruses can be new (i.e., not previously known) or already known; however, they share the common characteristic of occupying and spreading within new niches. Factors driving the emergence of plant viruses include genetic variability in the virus, changes in agricultural practices, increases in the population and/or distribution of insect vectors and long-distance transport of plant materials. In recent years, individual as well as entire groups of viruses have emerged, and this has involved a variety of mechanism(s), depending on the virus and the environment. Here, we will discuss some of these viruses, and highlight the mechanisms that have mediated their emergence. Special emphasis is placed upon the whiteflytransmitted geminiviruses (begomoviruses) and the thrips-transmitted tosposviruses, which have emerged as major threats to crop production throughout the world. Other examples include the recent emergence of novel viruslike agents, the acquisition and role of satellite DNA or RNA molecules in emergence of plant viruses, and cases where emerging viruses have had only a transient impact. It seems clear that global movement of plant materials, expansion of agriculture and large-scale monoculture will continue to favor emergence of plant viruses. However, improved diagnostics should allow for rapid identification of emerging viruses and better understanding of viral biology. This information can be used in the development of effective management strategies, which will hopefully minimize impact on agricultural production.


Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus Tomato Spot Wilt Virus Tomato Yellow Leaf Cassava Mosaic Disease Iris Yellow Spot Virus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Adkins S, Webb SE, Achor D, Roberts PD, Baker CA (2007) Identification and characterization of a novel whitefly-transmitted member of the family Potyviridae isolated from cucurbits in Florida. Phytopathology 97:145–154PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bisaro DM (2006) Silencing suppression by geminivirus proteins. Virology 344:158–168PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Briddon R, Bull S, Amin I, Idris A, Mansoor S, Bedford I, Dhawan P, Rishi N, Siwatch S, Abdel-Salam A, Brown J, Zafar Y, Malik KA, Markham PG (2003) Diversity of DNAβ, a satellite molecule associated with some monopartite begomoviruses. Virology 285:234–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brown JK, Idris AM (2006) Introduction of the exotic monopartite Tomato yellow leaf curl virus into West Coast Mexico. Plant Dis 90:1360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brown JK, Frohlich DR, Rosell RC (1995) The sweetpotato or silverleaf whiteflies: biotypes of Bemisia tabaci or a species complex? Annu Rev Entomol 40:511–534CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brown JK, Idris AM, Alteri C, Stenger DC (2002) Emergence of a new cucurbit-infecting begomovirus capable of forming viable reassortants with related viruses in the Squash leaf curl virus cluster. Phytopathology 92:734–742PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Candresse T, Cambra M (2006) Causal agent of sharka disease: historical perspective and current status of Plum pox virus strains. EPPO Bull 36:239–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Celix A, Lopez-Sese A, Almarza N, Gomez-Guillamon ML, Rodriguez-Cerezo E (1996) Characterization of Cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus, a Bemisia tabaci-transmitted closterovirus. Phytopathology 86:1370–1376Google Scholar
  9. Cohen S, Antignus Y (1994) Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV), a whitefly-borne geminivirus of tomatoes. In: Harris KF (ed) Advances in disease vector research, vol 10. Springer, New York, pp 259–288Google Scholar
  10. Cui X, Li G, Wang D, Hu D, Zhou X (2005) A begomovirus DNAβ-encoded protein binds DNA, functions as a suppressor of RNA silencing, and targets the cell nucleus. J Virol 79:10764–10775PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Daughtrey ML, Jones RK, Moyer JW, Daub ME, Baker JR (1997) Tospoviruses strike the greenhouse industry: INSV has become a major pathogen on flower crops. Plant Dis 81:1220–1230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fauquet CM, Stanley J (2003) Geminivirus classification and nomenclature: progress and problems. Ann Appl Biol 142:165–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gao F, Bailes E, Robertson DL, Chen Y, Rodenburg CM, Michael SF, Cummins LB, Arthur LO, Peeters M, Shaw GM, Sharp PM, Hahn BH (1999) Origin of HIV-1 in the chimpanzee Pan troglodytes troglodytes. Nature 397:436–441PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Garcia-Andres S, Accotto GP, Navas-Castillo J, Moriones E (2007) Founder effect, plant host, and recombination shape the emergent population of begomoviruses that cause the tomato yellow leaf curl disease in the Mediterranean basin. Virology 359:302–312PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Garrido-Ramirez ER, Sudarshana MR, Gilbertson RL (2000) Bean golden yellow mosaic virus from Chiapas, Mexico: Characterization, pseudorecombination with other bean-infecting geminiviruses and germ plasm screening. Phytopathology 90:1224–1232PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gent DH, du Toit LJ, Fichtner SF, Mohan SK, Pappu HR, Schwartz HF (2006) Iris yellow spot virus: an emerging threat to onion bulb and seed production. Plant Dis 90:1468–1480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gilbertson RL, Faria JC, Ahlquist PG, Maxwell DP (1993a) Genetic diversity in geminiviruses causing bean golden mosaic disease: the nucleotide sequence of the infectious cloned DNA components of a Brazilian isolate of bean golden mosaic virus. Phytopathology 83:709–715CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gilbertson RL, Hidayat SH, Paplomatas EJ, Rojas MR, Hou Y-M, Maxwell DP (1993b) Pseudorecombination between the cloned infectious DNA components of tomato mottle and bean dwarf mosaic geminiviruses. J Gen Virol 74:23–31PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Guan Y, Zheng BJ, He YQ, Liu XL, Zhuang ZX, Cheung CL, Luo SW, Li PH, Zhang LJ, Guan YJ, Butt KM, Wong KL, Chan KW, Lim W, Shortridge KF, Yuen KY, Peiris JSM, Poon LLM (2003) Isolation and characterization of viruses related to the SARS coronovirus from animals in southern China. Science 302:276–278PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Guzman P, Sudarshana MR, Seo Y-S, Rojas MR, Natwick E, Turini T, Mayberry K, Gilbertson RL (2000) A new bipartite geminivirus (begomovirus) causing leaf curl and crumpling in cucurbits in the Imperial Valley of California. Plant Dis 84:488CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hou Y-M, Gilbertson RL (1996) Increased pathogenicity in a pseudorecombinant bipartite geminivirus correlates with intermolecular recombination. J Virol 70:5430–5436PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Idris AM, Brown JK (2004) Cotton leaf crumple virus is a distinct Western Hemisphere begomovirus species with complex evolutionary relationships indicative of recombination and reassortment. Phytopathology 94:1068–1074PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. James D, Glasa M (2006) Causal agent of sharka disease: new and emerging events associated with Plum pox virus characterization. EPPO Bull 36:247–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kon T, Sharma P, Ikegami M (2007) Suppressor of RNA silencing encoded by the monopartite tomato leaf curl Java begomovirus. Arch Virol 152:1273–1282PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kuo Y-W, Rojas MR, Gilbertson RL, Wintermantel WM (2007) First report of Cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus in California and Arizona, in association with Cucurbit leaf crumple virus and Squash leaf curl virus. Plant Dis 91:330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lanciotti RS, Roehrig JT, Deubel V, Smith J, Parker M, Steele K, Crise B, Volpe KE, Crabtree MB, Scherret JH, Hall RA, MacKensie JS, Cropp CB, Panigrahy B, Ostlund E, Schmitt B, Malkinson M, Banet C, Weissman J, Komar N, Savage HM, Stone W, McNamara T, Gubler D J (1999) Origin of the West Nile virus responsible for an outbreak of encephalitis in the northeastern United States. Science 286:2333–2337PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Legg JP (1999) Emergence, spread and strategies for controlling the pandemic of cassava mosaic disease in east and central Africa. Crop Prot 18:627–637CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Legg JP, Fauquet CM (2004) Cassava mosaic geminiviruses in Africa. Plant Mol Biol 56: 31–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Leroy EM, Kumulungui B, Pourrut X, Rouquet P, Hassanin A, Yaba P, Delicat A, Paweska JT, Gonzalaz JP, Swanepoel R (2005) Fruit bats as reservoirs of Ebola virus. Nature 438:575–576PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Li KS, Guan Y, Wang J, Smith GJD, Xu KM, Duan L, Rahardjo AP, Puthavathana P, Buranathai C, Nguyen TD, Estoepangestie ATS, Chaisingh A, Auewarakul P, Long HT, Hanh NTH, Webby RJ, Poon LLM, Chen H, Shortridge KF, Yuen KY, Webster RG, Peiris JSM (2004) Genesis of a highly pathogenic and potentially pandemic H5N1 influenza virus in eastern Asia. Nature 430:209–213PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mansoor S, Briddon RW, Zafar Y, Stanley J (2003) Geminivirus disease complexes: an emerging threat. Trends Plant Sci 8:128–134PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Mendez-Lozano J, Torres-Pacheco I, Fauquet CM, Rivera-Bustamante RF (2003) Interactions between geminiviruses in a naturally occurring mixture: Pepper huasteco virus and Pepper golden mosaic virus. Phytopathology 93:270–277PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Monci F, Sanchez-Campos S, Navas-Castillo J, Moriones E (2002) A natural recombinant between the geminiviruses Tomato yellow leaf curl Sardinia virus and Tomato yellow leaf curl virus exhibits a novel pathogenic phenotype and is becoming prevalent in Spanish populations. Virology 303:317–326PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Marco CF, Aranda MA (2005) Genetic diversity of a natural population of Cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus. J Gen Virol 86:815–822PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Matson PA, Parton WJ, Power AG, Swift MJ (1997) Agricultural intensification and ecosystem properties. Science 277:504–509CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Naidu RA, Deom CM, Sherwood JL (2005) Expansion of the host range of Impatiens necrotic spot virus to peppers. Plant Health Prog. doi:10.1094/PHP-2005–0727-01-HNGoogle Scholar
  37. Navot N, Pichersky E, Zeidan M, Zamir D, Czosnek H (1991) Tomato yellow leaf curl virus: a whitefly-transmitted geminivirus with a single genomic component. Virology 185:151–161PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Padidam M, Sawyer S, Fauquet CM (1999) Possible emergence of new geminiviruses by frequent recombination. Virology 265:218–225PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Pagan I, Cordoba-Selles MDC, Martinez-Priego L, Fraile A, Malpica JM, Jorda C, Garcia-Arenal F (2006) Genetic structure of the population of Pepino mosaic virus infecting tomato crops in Spain. Phytopathology 96:274–279PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Perring TM, Cooper AD, Kazmer DJ, Shields C, Shields J (1991) New strain of sweetpotato whitefly invades California vegetables. Calif Agric 45:10–12Google Scholar
  41. Pita JS, Fondong VN, Sangare A, Otim-Nape GW, Ogwal S, Fauquet CM (2001) Recombination, pseudorecombination and synergism of geminiviruses are determinant keys to the epidemic of severe cassava mosaic disease in Uganda. J Gen Virol 82:655–665PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Polston JE, Anderson PK (1997) The emergence of whitefly-transmitted geminiviruses in tomato in the Western Hemisphere. Plant Dis 81:1358–1369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Polston JE, McGovern RJ, Brown LG (1999) Introduction of tomato yellow leaf curl virus in Florida and implications for the spread of this and other geminiviruses of tomato. Plant Dis 83:984–988CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Preiss W, Jeske H (2003) Multitasking in replication is common among geminiviruses. J Virol 77:2972–2980PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Prins M, Goldbach R (1998) The emerging problem of tospovirus infection and nonconventional methods of control. Trends Microbiol 6:31–35PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Roberts S, Stanley J (1994) Lethal mutations within the conserved stem-loop of African cassava mosaic virus DNA are rapidly corrected by genomic recombination. J Gen Virol 77:1947–1951Google Scholar
  47. Rojas MR, Hagen C, Lucas WJ, Gilbertson RL (2005) Exploiting chinks in the plant’s armor: evolution and emergence of geminiviruses. Annu Rev Phytopathol 43:361–394PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Rojas MR, Kon T, Natwick E, Polston J, Fouad A, Gilbertson RL (2007) First report of Tomato yellow leaf curl virus associated with tomato yellow leaf curl disease in California, USA. Plant Dis 91:1056CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Saeed M, Behjatnia SA, Mansoor S, Zafar Y, Hasnain S, Rezaian MA (2005) A single complementary-sense transcript of a geminiviral DNAβ satellite is determinant of pathogenicity. Mol Plant Microbe Interact 18:7–14PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Salati R, Nahkla MK, Rojas MR, Guzman P, Jaquez J, Maxwell DP, Gilbertson RL (2002) Tomato yellow leaf curl virus in the Dominican Republic: characterization of an infectious clone, virus monitoring in whiteflies, and identification of reservoir hosts. Phytopathology 92:487–496PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Saunders K, Salim N, Mali VR, Malathi VG, Briddon R, Markham PG, Stanley J (2002) Characterisation of Sri Lankan cassava mosaic virus and Indian cassava mosaic virus: evidence for acquisition of a DNA B component by a monopartite begomovirus. Virology 293:63–74PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Saunders K, Norman A, Gucciardo S, Stanley J (2004) The DNA β satellite component associated with Ageratum yellow vein disease encodes an essential pathogenicity factor (βC1). Virology 324:37–47PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Seal SE, van den Bosch F, Jeger MJ (2006) Factors influencing begomovirus evolution and their increasing global significance: implications for sustainable control. Crit Rev Plant Sci 25:23–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Seo Y-S, Zhou Y-C, Turini TA, Cook CG, Gilbertson RL, Natwick ET (2006) Evaluation of cotton germplasm for resistance to the whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) and cotton leaf crumple (CLCr) disease and etiology of CLCr in the Imperial Valley of California. Plant Dis 90:877–884CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sharp LP, Hou Y-M, Garrido-Ramirez ER, Guzman P, Gilbertson RL (1999) A synergistic interaction between geminivirus DNA components results in increased symptom severity and viral DNA levels in plants. Phytopathology 89: S71Google Scholar
  56. Simon AE, Roosinck MJ, Havelda Z (2004) Plant virus satellite and defective interfering RNAs: new paradigms for a new century. Annu Rev Phytopathol 42:415–437PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Toscano NC, Castle SJ, Henneberry TJ, Prabhaker Castle N (1998) Persistent silverleaf whitefly exploits desert crop systems. Calif Agric 52:29–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Towner JS, Khristova ML, Sealy TK, Vincent MJ, Erickson BR, Bawiec DA, Hartman AL, Comer JA, Zaki SR, Stroher U, Gomes da Silva F, del Castillo F, Rollin PE, Ksiazek TG, Nichol T (2006) Marburg virus genomics and association with a large hemorrhagic fever outbreak in Angola. J Virol 80:6497–6516PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Vanitharani R, Chellappan P, Fauquet CM (2005) Geminiviruses and RNA silencing. Trends Plant Sci 10:144–151PubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Varma A, Malathi VG (2003) Emerging geminivirus problems: a serious threat to crop production. Ann Appl Biol 142:145–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Verbeek M, Dullemans AM, van den Heuvel JFJM, Maris PC, and van der Vlugt RAA (2007) Identification and characterization of tomato torrado virus, a new plant picorna-like virus from tomato. Arch Virol 152:881–890PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Verhoeven JTJ, van der Vlugt RAA, Roenhorst JW (2003) High similarity between tomato isolates of Pepino mosaic virus suggests a common origin. Eur J Plant Pathol 109:419–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Whitfield A.E, Ullman DE, German TL (2005) Tospovirus-thrips interactions. Annu Rev Phytopathol 43:459–489PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wisler GC, Duffus JE, Liu H-Y, Li RH (1998) Ecology and epidemiology of whitefly-transmitted closteroviruses. Plant Dis 82:270–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria R. Rojas
    • 1
  • Robert L. Gilbertson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant PathologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

Personalised recommendations