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K-State Today

March 31, 2016

Iowa State entomologist to discuss novel molecular insect-plant virus interactions

Submitted by John Ruberson

Bryony Bonning

Bryony Bonning, professor of entomology at Iowa State University, will present the 2016 Hopkins Colloquium address at 4 p.m. April 4 in 231 Waters Hall.

A native of England, she is a fellow of the Entomological Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and recipient of the 2013 Nan-Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity in Entomology.

Bonning conducts research on insect physiology and insect pathology with the goal of developing novel, environmentally benign alternatives to chemical insecticides for insect pest management. She has published on diverse subjects, including insecticidal toxins derived from Bacillus thuringiensis "Bt," insect small RNA, genetic optimization of insect viruses for pest management, insect virus discovery and the development of insect resistant transgenic plants. Bonning also is director of the Center for Arthropod Management Technologies, or CAMTech, a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center.

Her seminar, "Pea aphids and plant viruses: Molecular interactions and innovation," looks at novel work addressing the molecular basis of plant pathogen transmission by aphids. Aphids transmit more than 275 plant viruses that result in considerable economic loss within the agricultural sector. Viruses in the Luteoviridae are obligately transmitted by aphids in a persistent manner that requires virion accumulation in the aphid hemocoel. To enter the hemocoel, the virion must bind and traverse the aphid gut epithelium. The molecular mechanisms involved in this process are poorly understood. By screening a phage display library, we identified a peptide that binds to the gut epithelium of the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum, Harris, and impedes the update of pea enation mosaic virus from the pea aphid gut into the hemocoel.

In this talk, the development of two novel aphid management technologies based on knowledge of pea aphid and pea enation mosaic virus molecular interactions will be described. These technologies provide enhanced delivery of both gut active and neurotoxic peptides.

The Hopkins Colloquium recognition is an annual award in the entomology department and was established in 1998 to honor K-State professor emeritus Theodore L. Hopkins for his many contributions to the science of entomology. The award supports the campus visit of a distinguished scientist working in an area of current importance and interest, and who will bring new and important research in entomological science to the department and university. The seminar is open to everyone and light refreshments will be served at 3:40 p.m.

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