The APS Virology Committee

The Virology Committee of the American Phytopathological Society met during the 2001 Annual Meeting of the Society. Here is what they did and talked about. The Minutes will be approved at the 2002 Annual Meeting.

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Minutes of the APS Virology Committee Meeting

APS Virology Committee Meeting
August 25, 2001
Salt Lake City, Utah

Current Committee Chair: John F. Murphy jmurphy@acesag.auburn.edu
Immediate Past Chair: Bill Wintermantel bwinter@salinas.ars.usda.gov
Current Vice-Chair: Jim Schoelz  schoelzj@missouri.edu

Committee members  (Appointed/Terminates)
Scott Adkins  (01/04)
Joe Anderson  (01/04)
Alexander Karasev  (01/04)
Richard Larson  (01/04)
Hsing-Yeh Liu  (01/04)
Gad Loebenstein  (01/04)
Baozhong Meng  (01/04)
Jane Poston  (01/04)
Wenpeng Qiu  (01/04)
Jeanmarie Verchot Lubicz  (01/04)
Jim Schoelz  (00/05)
John Murphy  (99/04)
Ron Brlansky  (00/03)
Clarissa Maroon  (00/03)
Brad Reddick  (00/03)
Bill Wintermantel  (97/03)
Judith K. Brown  (98/02)
Alan Eggenberger  (99/02)
Vicki Bowman Vance  (99/02)

Possible new members: Drake Stenger, Mark Hilf, Lawrence Lee

Members rotating off service in 2001
Keith Perry   98-01
Kay Scheets   98-01
Milton Zaitlin   98-01

The committee meeting was officially called to order by Chair Bill Wintermantel on August 25, 2001 at 6:30 PM.

The meeting was attended by 34 people; this included committee members Judith Brown, Brad Reddick and Jim Schoelz (including newly elected members Stenger and Lee).

Old Business
The Committee approved the minutes of the previous Virology Committee meeting held on August 12, 2000, at New Orleans, LA.

New Business
Special sessions for 2001
Each of the symposia (with the exception of the Mycovirus discussion) were outlined by the organizers.  Those planned for the current meeting include:
--Interactions between different host defense pathways (Schoelz and Gassman)
--Soil-borne and fungus transmitted viruses (Verchot and Wintermantel)
--Suppressors of gene silencing (Nelson)

Special sessions for the APS meeting in 2002 to be held in Milwaukee, WI.
NOTE- concern was voiced regarding the conflict in meeting time for APS and the International Congress of Virology (ICV).  It is expected that many individuals will attend the ICV meeting rather than APS, including individuals that might be anticipated speakers for symposia.  Therefore, only two sessions were planned.  Alex Karasev will move ahead with plans to organize a symposium on Viral Expression Vectors.  A vote was taken to go forward with proposal of the Viral Expression Vectors as a symposium and to retain the other sessions for the 2003 annual meeting- 5 in favor, 0 against (this represents committee members only).  The second symposium is Interactions Between Endosymbiotic Bacteria in Insects and Circulative Transmission of Viruses by Insects to be organized by Gad Leobenstein (Bill Wintermantel agreed to contact Gad to confirm this).
 
Those sessions proposed previously for the 2002 meeting will be retained for the 2003 meeting in Charlotte, N.C.  These include:
-Virus evolution and emerging viruses (Berger)
-Micro-arrays and new methodologies for virus detection (Tolin)
-Plant virus genomics (Berger)
-Viral protein structure and function (H. Scholthof)
-Host components involved in virus movement (Sherwood)

Nomination and election of Vice-Chair for 2003 (Chair in 2004)
Judith K. Brown won the office by a unanimous vote.

As a historical perspective (in writing!): At the conclusion of the 2001 Virology Committee meeting, John F. Murphy will be Chair, Jim Schoelz will be Vice-Chair and past Chairs include Wintermantel, Scheets, Culver, Deom, Nelson, Edwards, Hu, Hammond, German, Gergerich, Jordan, Lommel, Hewings, Sherwood, Dodds, Hampton and D'Arcy.

A discussion about the White Paper for the plant pathogen genome sequencing project was led by Judith Brown and Sue Tolin with participation by others.  Important points discussed included:
->It is important that virologists have access to this funding and if they do not (aggressively) make a move to allow participation they may lose out.
->While it is obvious that we need to emphasize the importance of plant virus diseases as serious threats to plant health and associated economic losses, we need to stress the importance of knowledge about gene function and the uniquely interesting interaction between the virus and its host.  Such studies not only serve to dissect the biological characteristics of the virus but are used to understand biological/physiological functions of the host.
->Concerns were raised about which viruses should be included in the list.  Since viral genomes are relatively simple in nature, obtaining complete sequence information is a more rapid process, and thus, more viruses are able to be sequenced for a given amount of funding.  With this point in mind, it was suggested that viruses be submitted at the family level rather than genus level in order to allow a greater number of viruses to be included.  It was also suggested that fungal-transmitted viruses be included (recommended those in the genus Tombusvirus) as well as viruses in the genus Rhabdovirus.
->When the list was completed and submitted, virus listings were at the genus level.  I want to thank Bill Wintermantel and especially Sue Tolin for their efforts and assistance on this matter.

Proposal for the "bad virus" list was discussed in conjunction with the report for the New Virus Working Group (APS/APHIS Virology Working Group)
-Sue Tolin provided a list of the ten most threatening plant viruses that was submitted to APHIS.  These included:
1.  Those not in U.S. at present: Tomato black ring virus, Sweetpotato chlorotic stunt virus and  Citrus chlorotic dwarf virus.
2.  Of limited distribution in U.S. at present: Soybean dwarf virus, Potato virus Y -veinal
necrosis strain, Potato virus Y -NTN strain, Tomato yellow leaf curl virus, Bean golden mosaic virus, Plum pox virus (Sharka) and Banana bunchy top virus.
3.  Viruses that were crossed off of the list that we went into the meeting with, because of either limited threat, or already wide-spread were: Maize streak virus, Rice dwarf virus, Potato virus T, begomovirus-caused diseases, Bean golden mosaic virus, Beet necrotic yellow vein virus, Citrus tristeza virus -stem pitting strain.

Larry Brown (APHIS) indicated that it would be most helpful to have a list of virus names along with  information on the biological properties of these viruses and the names and addresses of individuals that work with these viruses that would serve as sources of information when needed.
 A discussion followed that suggested a need for more communication between individuals on the "bad virus" subcommittee and those on the New Virus Working Group.
 Vern Damsteegt and Brad Reddick volunteered to serve on the "bad virus" subcommittee (which consisted of Judith Brown, Don Gordon, John Hill, Susanne Hurtt, Marie Langham, Richard Larsen, John Sherwood and Sue Tolin).

Virology Committee Web Page
Thanks to Ulrich Melcher for developing the web page.  Concern was voiced about access to the web page through APSnet, i.e., it appears to be difficult to find within the APSnet site.  Ramon Jordan indicated he would voice this concern at one of the committee meetings.

History of the Virology Committee
No one expressed an interest in developing or maintaining a historical document and it was suggested that the issue be dropped.

ATCC Report
Rick Nelson summarized the annual meeting for the ATCC Executive Board.  This summary is provided as the last section of this report.

CAMPPS proposal
Bill Wintermantel summarized the information forwarded to Steve Slack regarding development of this facility by the USDA on the campus of Cornell University.  The general points raised included:
-The USDA did not discuss the proposal to develop the facility with ATCC.
-The response of the Virology Committee does not mean that APS necessarily agrees with this response nor does it serve to represent APS.
-Cornell is not the only site being considered.
-Steve Slack (APS President) agrees to the concept of support for the collections but will not provide a letter representing APS that the facility should be built.

Virology Student Travel Award
John Sherwood indicated funds now available should be able to support one award each year and one additional award every other year.  The award for the 2001 annual meeting went to P.M. Sforza of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for research (and associated presentation) on a geographic information system tool to improve integrated management of barley yellow dwarf in Virginia wheat.

I.E. Melhus Student Symposium
Rose Hammond agreed to (consider) organizing a symposium for the 2003 annual meeting in Charlotte, N.C.

Report to the APS Council (8/15/01)
From Richard S. Nelson, APS representative to the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC)

The annual meeting of the ATCC Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) was held on December 7, 2000.  Below is a listing of actions to be taken and their current status:
1) ATCC, in an effort to indicate that it is more than a repository for organisms, has investigated the Biological Resource Center (BRC) Concept.  BRCs contain not only the organisms, but databases containing other molecular and physiological information. The ATCC is investigating how to link its organismal information with database information to give greater value to the researcher/customer.  The ATCC has positions to fill (or positions that were filled) in this area.
2) SAC members will continue to participate on Collection Review Committees (RSN is a member of this committee). In January 2001, Collection Directors at the ATCC were asked to provide a 3-5 year accessioning plan with goals and milestones.  For collections, authentication was to be based on three criteria depending on the importance of the material.  These are 1) Minimal authentication stating there is no contamination in the materials or if there is contamination, notifying the customer 2) Secondary genetic authentication. 3) In depth analysis for specified, targeted organisms.
3) ATCC is continuing to look for grant and contract revenue.  Grant and contract revenue was 21% of total revenue as of the meeting.
4) SAC renamed to Scientific Societies Advisory Council (SSAC). A Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) was to be formed of 6 members to be comprised of three members of the SSAC and three members of the scientific community.

Other items of interest to APS members:

1) The ATCC has included the web addresses of affiliated organizations on their website.  The website address for APS on the ATCC site is being updated to the new address, www.apsnet.org  by U.B. Gunasinghe.  We are looking into having the name of the representative of each affiliated society on the site.  Rick Nelson has requested that access to the affiliated societies of the APS be listed more prominently in the main menu area of the APS web page.  Rick Nelson requested this to be brought up in council this year.
2) Rick Nelson will put the electronic version of the 2000 ATCC annual meeting onto the APS society web page if allowed.
3) Rick Nelson secured funds from the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation to support the virology and mycology collections at the ATCC in honor of the organization's 75th anniversary and to support collections the Foundation considers important for agricultural research.
4) Rick Nelson will report on the status of the search for someone to take on the duties of Dr. Frank Dugan, former Collection Scientist for Mycology and Botany, who left ATCC last year.