Plant Viruses

Group Structure

Group Leaders: Juan José López Moya (CSIC Associate Professor), Montserrat Martín-Hernández (IRTA Researcher)
Postdoctoral Researchers: Ana Giner (from November 2012), Gabor Gyetvai (until July 2012), Luïsa Vilaplana (until November 2013)
PhD Students: Cèlia Guiu, Ares Mingot
Undergrad or Master Students: Marcin Siemieniec (from July to December 2012), Javier Checa (from December 2012 to September 2013), Sara Montserrat, Georgina Izaguirre (from November 2012 to August 2013)


The group aims to find innovative strategies for the control of viral pathogens in crop plants, focusing in two aspects of the virus cycle: transmission by insect vectors, and resistance mechanisms in the host. A better understanding of these basic processes might lead to interference with vector dissemination and to potentiate the host defensive responses through characterization of resistance genes in the plant. Different viruses of economical importance are being targeted, including among others, members of the Cucumovirus genus and the Potyviridae family, and the work is performed with both model plant species and crops. In the 2012-2013 period, advances have been made to test strategies for RNAi induction in aphids, and also in the description of the genetic architecture and understanding the mechanisms that confers resistance to most of CMV strains in melon.

Research Projects

  • Characterization of putative virus-specific receptors in the cuticle of aphid vectors
  • Design of feeding-based strategies to induce RNAi responses in insects
  • Determination of peculiarities of ipomoviruses (in whitefly-mediated transmission and RNA silencing suppression), and comparison with potyviruses
  • Map-based cloning of the gene cmv1 that confers resistance to some strains of CMV
  • Characterization of the mechanism of the resistance mediated by cmv1
  • Identification of the viral factor that enables CMV to overcome cmv1-mediated resistance.
  • Identification of three QTLs that together confer resistance to most CMV strains

Selected Publications

Bragard C., Caciagli P., Lemaire O., Lopez-Moya J.J., Macfarlane S., Peters D., Susi P., Torrance L.
Status and prospects of plant virus control through interference with vector transmission
(2013) Annual Review of Phytopathology, vol. 51, pp. 177-201

Aranzana M.J., Eduardo I., Vilanova S., Romero C. and Martín-Hernández A.M.
Fruit crops: Temperate fruit trees.
(2012) Genomics of fruit crops (R. J. Schnell and P.M. Priyadarshan Eds.) Springer Verlag, Vienna. pp 155-208.