The incredible journey of Begomoviruses in their whitefly vector

Henryk Czosnek*, Aliza Hariton-Shalev, Iris Sobol, Rena Gorovits, Murad Ghanim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


Begomoviruses are vectored in a circulative persistent manner by the whitefly Bemisia tabaci. The insect ingests viral particles with its stylets. Virions pass along the food canal and reach the esophagus and the midgut. They cross the filter chamber and the midgut into the haemolymph, translocate into the primary salivary glands and are egested with the saliva into the plant phloem. Begomoviruses have to cross several barriers and checkpoints successfully, while interacting with would-be receptors and other whitefly proteins. The bulk of the virus remains associated with the midgut and the filter chamber. In these tissues, viral genomes, mainly from the tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) family, may be transcribed and may replicate. However, at the same time, virus amounts peak, and the insect autophagic response is activated, which in turn inhibits replication and induces the destruction of the virus. Some begomoviruses invade tissues outside the circulative pathway, such as ovaries and fat cells. Autophagy limits the amounts of virus associated with these organs. In this review, we discuss the different sites begomoviruses need to cross to complete a successful circular infection, the role of the coat protein in this process and the sites that balance between virus accumulation and virus destruction.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number273
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Autophagy
  • Begomovirus
  • Transcription and replication
  • Whitefly


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