During research carried out in the Netherlands, Marilia Santos Silva discovered that some tobacco plants die if a virus infects them, whereas others survive.
A virus can quickly and completely infect a plant by spreading through the plants vascular system. This is analogous to human viruses spreading through the circulatory system in the human body. Santos Silva discovered that the cowpea mosaic virus could not penetrate the vascular system of some tobacco plants. In the future, researchers want to establish the reason for this.
Plants from the tobacco species Nicotiana benthamiana died when the researchers infected a leaf of the plant with cowpea mosaic virus. However, in a second tobacco species, Nicotiana tabacum, only the infected leaf turned yellow and the rest of the plant remained unharmed.
Sonja Jacobs | NWO
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