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plant -> animals (re Ebola)

Ed Rybicki ED at MOLBIOL.UCT.AC.ZA
Thu Mar 28 03:06:51 EST 1996


> From:          mikep at biosci.uq.oz.au (Mike Poidinger)
> Subject:       plant -> animals (re Ebola)

> On 25 Mar 1996 21:44:20 -0500, topherius at aol.com (Topherius) wrote:
> >I heard that people here decided that the reservoir couldn't be a plant
> >last year but I couldn't find anything in the archives.  Why couldn't it? 
> 
> Is anyone aware of any pathogen at all which is able to successfully
> infect both plants and animals?
> Mike

Nice to see a new sig, Mike...and yes, there are several: wound tumour 
virus (a reovirus), tomato spotted wilt virus (a bunyavirus) and 
lettuce necrotic yellows virus (a rhabdovirus) are just three that 
come to mind.  Of course, their hosts are insects and not vertebrates, 
but given the number of viruses which infect insects and vertebrates, 
(also reo-, bunya- and rhabdoviruses, tho different ones)
it would not be too surprising to me to find one that could infect 
an insect host AND a plant AND a vertebrate or two.  After all, the 
Wisconsin crowd showed a while ago that an insect virus could 
replicate quite happily in a plant without moving efficiently (flock 
house virus, was it, a nodavirus?); we and others have shown (us with 
aphid lethal paralysis virus and rhopalosiphum padi virus, Richard 
Francki with leafhopper A virus) that a plant can act as a 
"non-propagative semi-persistent vector" for insect viruses.  So 
although not yet demonstrated, the idea is not TOO far-fetched.

                     Ed Rybicki, PhD  
      Dept Microbiology     |  ed at molbiol.uct.ac.za   
   University of Cape Town  | phone: x27-21-650-3265
   Private Bag, Rondebosch  |  fax: x27-21-650 4023
      7700, South Africa    |   
    WWW URL: http://www.uct.ac.za/microbiology/ed.html      
                                        
"And then one day you find, ten years have got behind you"



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