Rice ragged stunt virus (RRSV), an oryzavirus, is transmitted by brown planthopper in a persistent propagative manner. In this study, sequential infection of RRSV in the internal organs of its insect vector after ingestion of virus was investigated by immunofluorescence microscopy. RRSV was first detected in the epithelial cells of the midgut, from where it proceeded to the visceral muscles surrounding the midgut, then throughout the visceral muscles of the midgut and hindgut, and finally into the salivary glands. Viroplasms, the sites of virus replication and assembly of progeny virions, were formed in the midgut epithelium, visceral muscles and salivary glands of infected insects and contained the non-structural protein Pns10 of RRSV, which appeared to be the major constituent of the viroplasms. Viroplasm-like structures formed in nonhost insect cells following expression of Pns10 in a baculovirus system, suggesting that the viroplasms observed in RRSV-infected cells were composed basically of Pns10. RNA interference induced by ingestion of dsRNA from the Pns10 gene of RRSV strongly inhibited such viroplasm formation, preventing efficient virus infection and spread in its insect vectors. These results show that Pns10 of RRSV is essential for viroplasm formation and virus replication in the vector insect.
ASJC Scopus subject areas