Incidence of Mite-Vectored Viruses of Wheat in the Texas High Plains and Interactions With Their Host and Vector. Academic Article uri icon


  • Mite-vectored virus diseases of wheat are common throughout the Great Plains and cause significant economic losses to growers each year. These diseases are caused by Wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV), Triticum mosaic virus (TriMV), and Wheat mosaic virus (WMoV), all of which are transmitted by the wheat curl mite (WCM), Aceria tosichella Keifer. New wheat cultivars with tolerance or resistance to WSMV have been released recently, but their widespread cultivation and potential impact on mite-transmitted virus incidence in the Texas Panhandle was unknown. A total of 648 symptomatic wheat samples were collected from 26 counties, predominately in the Texas Panhandle, and tested by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for WSMV, TriMV, and WMoV. Samples that tested negative by ELISA were subsequently tested by real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) for each virus. Approximately 93% of the samples tested by ELISA were positive for WSMV, 43% were positive for TriMV, and 7% were positive for WMoV. Eleven samples tested positive only for TriMV, but none were positive only for WMoV. When samples that tested negative for the different viruses by ELISA were retested by real-time qPCR, detection of each virus was significantly increased. When results of the ELISA test and qPCR were combined, 100% of the 648 samples tested positive for WSMV, approximately 94% were positive for TriMV, and 23% were positive for WMoV. This demonstrated that the incidence of TriMV in the Texas High Plains is much greater than previously reported. The fact that real-time qPCR revealed over a 2-fold increase in the incidence of TriMV and a 3-fold increase in WMoV demonstrated that the ELISA test, which is commonly used by diagnostic laboratories in the Great Plains, should not be used for studies requiring a high degree of sensitivity and accuracy in virus detection. After initial virus infection status was determined, samples that tested positive for WSMV and TriMV were further observed for WCM infestation. A total of 292 samples were inspected and a total of 101 mites were collected from 40 tillers. Individual mites and the tillers from which they were recovered were tested by real-time qPCR to determine how copy numbers of WSMV and TriMV in mites and host tissue compared, and whether the WSMV/TriMV copy number ratio in individual mites was similar to that of the host tissue from which they were collected. In all mites and tillers tested, the WSMV copy number was always higher than that of TriMV and copy numbers of both viruses were always higher in plant tissue than in mites. Although there was a significant correlation between the WSMV/TriMV copy number ratio in plant tissue and in associated mites, the correlation coefficient was very low (r = 0.31, P = 0.0248). In the majority of comparisons, the WSMV/TriMV ratio was higher in individual mites than in the tiller from which they were recovered. The reason for this increase is unknown but indicates that mites may preferentially acquire WSMV from tillers coinfected with WSMV and TriMV, a finding that could have significant implications for virus transmission and disease epidemiology.

published proceedings

  • Plant Dis

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Bryan, B., Paetzold, L., Workneh, F., & Rush, C. M.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Bryan, B||Paetzold, L||Workneh, F||Rush, CM

publication date

  • December 2019