Plant Pathology Department



Date of this Version





MOLECULAR PLANT PATHOLOGY (2018) 19( 9 ) , 219 3–2206 DOI : 10.1111/mpp.12683


Wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV) causes wheat streak mosaic, a disease of cereals and grasses that threatens wheat production worldwide. It is a monopartite, positive-sense, single-stranded RNA virus and the type member of the genus Tritimovirus in the family Potyviridae. The only known vector is the wheat curl mite (WCM, Aceria tosichella), recently identified as a species complex of biotypes differing in virus transmission. Low rates of seed transmission have been reported. Infected plants are stunted and have a yellow mosaic of parallel discontinuous streaks on the leaves. In the autumn, WCMs move from WSMV-infected volunteer wheat and other grass hosts to newly emerged wheat and transmit the virus which survives the winter within the plant, and the mites survive as eggs, larvae, nymphs or adults in the crown and leaf sheaths. In the spring/summer, the mites move from the maturing wheat crop to volunteer wheat and other grass hosts and transmit WSMV, and onto newly emerged wheat in the fall to which they transmit the virus, completing the disease cycle. WSMV detection is by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) or quantitative RT-PCR (RT-qPCR). Three types of WSMV are recognized: A (Mexico), B (Europe, Russia, Asia) and D (USA, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Turkey, Canada). Resistance genes Wsm1, Wsm2 and Wsm3 have been identified. The most effective, Wsm2, has been introduced into several wheat cultivars. Mitigation of losses caused by WSMV will require enhanced knowledge of the biology of WCM biotypes and WSMV, new or improved virus detection techniques, the development of resistance through traditional and molecular breeding, and the adaptation of cultural management tactics to account for climate change.