Iris yellow spot virus (Tospovirus: Bunyaviridae): from obscurity to research priority

Mol Plant Pathol. 2015 Apr;16(3):224-37. doi: 10.1111/mpp.12177. Epub 2014 Dec 4.


Taxonomy: Iris yellow spot virus (IYSV) is in the genus Tospovirus, family Bunyaviridae, with a single-stranded, tri-segmented RNA genome with an ambisense genome organization. Members of the other genera in the family infect predominantly vertebrates and insects.

Geographical distribution: IYSV is present in most Allium-growing regions of the world.

Physical properties: Virions are pleomorphic particles of 80-120 nm in size. The particle consists of RNA, protein, glycoprotein and lipids.

Genome: IYSV shares the genomic features of other tospoviruses: a segmented RNA genome of three RNAs, referred to as large (L), medium (M) and small (S). The L RNA codes for the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) in negative sense. The M RNA uses an ambisense coding strategy and codes for the precursor for the GN /GC glycoprotein in the viral complementary (vc) sense and a non-structural protein (NSm) in the viral (v) sense. The S RNA also uses an ambisense coding strategy with the coat protein (N) in vc sense and a non-structural protein (NSs) in the v sense.

Transmission: The virus is transmitted by Thrips tabaci Lindeman (Order: Thysanoptera; Family: Thripidae; onion thrips) and with less efficiency by Frankliniella fusca Hinds (tobacco thrips). HOST: IYSV has a relatively broad host range, including cultivated and wild onions, garlic, chives, leeks and several ornamentals. Some weeds are naturally infected by IYSV and may serve as alternative hosts for the virus.

Symptoms: IYSV symptoms in Allium spp. are yellow- to straw-coloured, diamond-shaped lesions on leaves and flowering scapes. Diamond-shaped lesions are particularly pronounced on scapes. As the disease progresses, the lesions coalesce, leading to lodging of the scapes. In seed crops, this could lead to a reduction in yield and quality. Early to mid-season infection in bulb crops results in reduced vigour and bulb size.

Control: Resistant varieties are not available, but a limited number of accessions with field tolerance have been identified. Integrated disease management tactics, including sanitation, crop rotation, thrips management, maintenance of optimal plant vigour, soil fertility, irrigation and physical separation of bulb and seed crops, can mitigate the effect of the disease. Virus code: Useful link:

Keywords: Bunyaviridae; thrips; tospoviruses; viruses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Genome, Viral
  • Host Specificity
  • Plant Diseases / virology
  • Research*
  • Tospovirus / genetics
  • Tospovirus / physiology*