Travelling by insect!
Zigmunds Orlovskis, John Innes Centre
Different plant pathogens have different requirements in order to complete their life cycle and for the phytoplasma bacterium it is the need for nymphs. The developing nymph or young instars of the leafhopper Macrosteles quadrilineatus acquires phytoplasma when feeding on infected plants and transmits it to uninfected plants. The bacterium not only gets a lift from the insect into a new host but actively manipulates the host plant to attract more adult leafhoppers to lay more eggs which sustains the process of plant to plant phytoplasma dispersal . Researchers at the John Innes Centre at the Norwich Research Park aim to elucidate the molecular mechanisms explaining such interactions and better understand " The Long Reach" of pathogen's genes.