Oh, Those Pestiferous Aphids!

Apr 16, 2012

Bryony Bonning
Bryony Bonning
By now, you're probably seen enough aphids to last you for the entire year.

That's why we're looking forward to hearing Bryony Bonning speak on "Novel Toxin Delivery Strategies for Management of Pestiferous Aphids" at the next UC Davis Department of Entomology seminar, scheduled from 12:10 to 1 p.m., Wednesday, April 18 in 122 Briggs Hall.

Aphids, Bonning says,  transmit more than 275 plant viruses "that result in considerable economic loss within the agricultural sector."

Now that's a lot of plant viruses!

A professor with the Iowa State University's Department of Entomology, Bonning is closely linked to UC Davis. She's a former postdoctoral research associate in the Bruce Hammock lab, Department of Entomology. Hammock, a distinguished professor of entomology, worked with her from 1990 to 1994. Her specialty: genetic engineering and optimization of baculovirus insecticides.

Bonning returns here Wednesday with lots of credentials. She's an associate editor for the Journal of Invertebrate Pathology; a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); a member of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, Baculovirus Study Group; and a member of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, Dicistrovirus/Iflavirus Study Group.

Bonning received her bachelor's degree in zoology from the University of Durham, UK in 1985, and her doctorate in applied entomology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London, UK in 1989.

In her abstract for Wednesday's talk, Bonning explains: "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 – Pea enation mosaic virus molecular interactions will be described. These technologies provide enhanced delivery of both gut active and neurotoxic peptides."

"I can hardly wait for Bryony Bonning to visit us and present a seminar," Hammock said. "She is one of our most productive alumni in continuing her work on insect developmental biology and green pesticides based on insect viruses and expanded this dramatically into exciting new areas.  She is advancing fundamental virology while applying this knowledge in production agriculture in both insect control and in blocking transmission of plant diseases by insects.  She clearly is the leader in insect control with recombinant viruses."

Her April 18th seminar promises to zero in on those dratted pea aphids. The more we know about them, the better we can control them.

And the good news is that many of the UC Davis Department of Entomology's seminars will be videotaped and later posted on UCTV.

By Kathy Keatley Garvey
Author - Communications specialist

Attached Images:

Pea aphids on a rose leaf. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Pea aphids on a rose leaf. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Pea aphids claim a rose stem. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Pea aphids claim a rose stem. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)