Researchers led by Professor Feng Cui from the Institute of Zoology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have identified a saliva protein, exportin 6, that acts as a vehicle for transporting plant virions into exosomes, thus overcoming the barrier of insect salivary glands to horizontal transmission. Results were published in PNAS on August 30, 2022. The article is titled “Key Role of Exportin 6 in Exosome-Mediated Viral Transmission from Insect Vectors to Plants.” Plant viruses are important pathogens that cause serious economic losses worldwide. Most plant viruses depend on specific sap-feeding insects, namely insect vectors, for transmission. Rice stripe virus (RSV) causes one of the most destructive rice diseases in East Asian countries. It is efficiently transmitted by the small brown planthopper. Insect salivary glands are the last barrier against the transmission of viruses from insects to plants. To date, how viruses overcome the salivary gland barrier has remained elusive.
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