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Hitchhikers, highway tolls and roadworks: the interactions of plant viruses with the phloem

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Svetlana Y. Folimonova, Jens Tilsner

School/Research organisations


The phloem is of central importance to plant viruses, providing the route by which they spread throughout their host. Compared with virus movement in non-vascular tissue, phloem entry, exit, and long-distance translocation usually involve additional viral factors and complex virus–host interactions, probably, because the phloem has evolved additional protection against these molecular ‘hitchhikers’. Recent progress in understanding phloem trafficking of endogenous mRNAs along with observations of membranous viral replication ‘factories’ in sieve elements challenge existing conceptions of virus long-distance transport. At the same time, the central role of the phloem in plant defences against viruses and the sophisticated viral manipulation of this host tissue are beginning to emerge.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-88
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Plant Biology
Early online date21 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

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