Nanovirus DNA-N encodes a protein mandatory for aphid transmission
Nanoviruses possess a multipartite single-stranded DNA genome and are naturally transmitted to plants by various aphid species in a circulative non-propagative manner. Using the cloned genomic DNAs of faba bean necrotic stunt virus (FBNSV) for reconstituting nanovirus infections we analyzed the necessity of different virus components for infection and transmission by aphids. We found that in the absence of DNA-U1 and DNA-U2 symptom severity decreased, and in the absence of DNA-U1 the transmission efficiency decreased. Most significantly, we demonstrated that the protein encoded by DNA-N (NSP) is mandatory for aphid transmission. Moreover, we showed that the NSP of FBNSV could substitute for that of a distantly related nanovirus, pea necrotic yellow dwarf virus. Altering the FBNSV NSP by adding 13 amino acids to its carboxy-terminus resulted in an infectious but non-transmissible virus. We demonstrate that the NSP acts as a nanovirus transmission factor, the existence of which had been hypothesized earlier.