A vector whitefly endocytic receptor facilitates the entry of begomoviruses into its midgut cells via binding to virion capsid proteins
Many circulative plant viruses transmitted by insect vectors are devastating to agriculture worldwide. The midgut wall of vector insects represents a major barrier and at the same time the key gate a circulative plant virus must cross for productive transmission. However, how these viruses enter insect midgut cells remains poorly understood. Here, we identified an endocytic receptor complex for begomoviruses in the midgut cells of their whitefly vector. Our results show that two whitefly
... two whitefly proteins, BtCUBN and BtAMN, compose a receptor complex BtCubam, for which BtCUBN contributes a viral-binding region and BtAMN contributes to membrane anchorage. Begomoviruses appear to be internalized together with BtCubam via its interaction with the 12–19 CUB domains of BtCUBN via clathrin-dependent endocytosis. Functional analysis indicates that interruption of BtCUBN and BtAMN lead to reduction of virus acquisition and transmission by whitefly. In contrast, CUBN-begomovirus interaction was not observed in two non-competent whitefly-begomovirus combinations. These observations suggest a major role of the specific endocytic receptor in facilitating viral entry into vector midgut cells.