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The "acrostyle": A newly described anatomical structure in aphid stylets

Uzest M., Gargani D., Dombrovsky A., Cazevieille C., Cot D., Blanc S.. 2010. Arthropod Structure and Development, 39 (4) : p. 221-229.

The recent demonstration that a plant virus could be retained on protein receptors located exclusively in a small area inside the common duct at the tip of aphid maxillary stylets indicated the possible existence of a distinct anatomical structure at this level. Since no distinct feature within the common duct of any aphid species has ever been reported in the literature, we first carefully re-examined the distal extremity of the maxillary stylets of Acyrthosiphon pisum using transmission- and scanning-electron microscopy. Here, we describe an area of the cuticle surface displaying a different structure that is limited to a "band" paving the bottom of the common duct in each opposing maxillary stylet. This band starts at the very distal extremity, adopts a "comma-like" shape as it continues up towards the salivary canal, reducing in width and disappearing before actually reaching it. Investigations on several aphid species led to the conclusion that this anatomical feature-which we have tentatively named the "acrostyle"-is highly conserved among aphids. We then produced an antibody recognizing a consensus peptide located in the middle of the RR-2 motif of cuticular proteins from A. pisum and showed that this motif is accessible specifically within the acrostyle, indicating a higher concentration of cuticular proteins. While it is clear that at least some viruses can use the acrostyle to interact with their aphid vectors to ensure plant-to-plant transmission, the role of this new "organ" in aphid biology is unknown and calls for further investigation in the near future. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : virus des végétaux; plante de culture; acyrthosiphon pisum

Thématique : Maladies des plantes; Ravageurs des plantes

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