First steps towards sustainable resistance to tomato bronze spot virus

Researcher Tieme Helderman has managed to take the first steps in the sustainable control of the tomato bronze spot virus (TSWV) in fruit vegetable crops. Breeding companies can use the acquired knowledge in the coming years to work on sustainable resistance to TSVW in these crops. On Tuesday October 19, Helderman obtained his doctorate at the University of Amsterdam.

TSWV is particularly problematic in the cultivation of peppers and tomatoes, but almost every crop is susceptible to the virus. The virus is transmitted through thrips. The main carrier of the TSWV is the California thrips. Helderman’s research intervenes in the weak spot of the virus.

Viruses cannot reproduce on their own and need a host to do so. In a virus infection in the plant, the virus recruits proteins from the host to replicate itself. All the genes that make these proteins in the plant are switched off, so that the virus can reproduce less well or not at all.

Helderman went in search of these specific proteins in the tobacco plant. The search yielded 5 candidate genes that would be necessary for TSWV infection and that had not yet been described in the literature. In addition, the researcher used a molecular approach to see which plant proteins bind to the virus proteins. He also investigated which plant proteins were included during the purification of whole virus particles from the plant. He found 6 other proteins that are essential for a virus infection.


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