Differential Transcriptional Responses in Two Old World Bemisia tabaci Cryptic Species Post Acquisition of Old and New World Begomoviruses

Habibu Mugerwa, Saurabh Gautam, Michael A. Catto, Bhabesh Dutta, Judith K. Brown, Scott Adkins, Rajagopalbabu Srinivasan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Begomoviruses are transmitted by several cryptic species of the sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius), in a persistent and circulative manner. Upon virus acquisition and circulative translocation within the whitefly, a multitude of molecular interactions occur. This study investigated the differentially expressed transcript profiles associated with the acquisition of the Old World monopartite begomovirus, tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV), and two New World bipartite begomoviruses, sida golden mosaic virus (SiGMV) and cucurbit leaf crumple virus (CuLCrV), in two invasive B. tabaci cryptic species, Middle East-Asia Minor 1 (MEAM1) and Mediterranean (MED). A total of 881 and 559 genes were differentially expressed in viruliferous MEAM1 and MED whiteflies, respectively, compared with their non-viruliferous counterparts, of which 146 genes were common between the two cryptic species. For both cryptic species, the number of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) associated with TYLCV and SiGMV acquisition were higher compared with DEGs associated with CuLCrV acquisition. Pathway analysis indicated that the acquisition of begomoviruses induced differential changes in pathways associated with metabolism and organismal systems. Contrasting expression patterns of major genes associated with virus infection and immune systems were observed. These genes were generally overexpressed and underexpressed in B. tabaci MEAM1 and MED adults, respectively. Further, no specific expression pattern was observed among genes associated with fitness (egg production, spermatogenesis, and aging) in viruliferous whiteflies. The weighted gene correlation network analysis of viruliferous B. tabaci MEAM1 and MED adults identified different hub genes potentially implicated in the vector competence and circulative tropism of viruses. Taken together, the results indicate that both vector cryptic species and the acquired virus species could differentially affect gene expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2060
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022


  • Mediterranean whitefly
  • Middle East-Asia Minor 1 whitefly
  • cucurbit leaf crumple virus
  • sida golden mosaic virus
  • tomato yellow leaf curl virus
  • transcriptomes
  • virus–vector interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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