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Department of Plant Pathology

Dr. Anna Whitfield

Dr. Anna Whitfield


Email Dr. Whitfield

Kansas State University
4106 Throckmorton PSC
1712 Claflin Road
Manhattan, KS 66506

Ph: +1-785-532-3364
Fx: +1-785-532-5692


  • Ph.D. Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2004
  • M.S. Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis, 1999
  • B.S. Biological Science, University of Georgia, Athens, 1996


  • Dietzgen, R.G., Kuhn, J.H., Clawson, A.N., Freitas-Astúa, J., Goodin, M.M., Kitajima, E., Kondo, H., Wetzel, T., Whitfield, A.E. 2014. Dichorhavirus: a proposed new genus for Brevipalpus mite-transmitted, nuclear, bacilliform, bipartite, negative-strand RNA plant viruses. Archives of Virology 159:607-619.
  • Alexander, H.M., Mauck, K.E., Whitfield, A.E., Garrett K.A., and C. M. Malmstrom. Plant-virus interactions and the agro-ecological interface. European Journal of Plant Pathology 138:529-547.
  • Montero-Astúa, M., Rotenberg, D., Leach, A., Schneweis, B., Park, K., Park, S.H., German, T.L., and Whitfield, A.E. 2014. Disruption of vector transmission by a plant-expressed viral glycoprotein. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. 27:296-304.
  • Whitfield, A.E., Rotenberg, D., and German, T. L. 2014. Plant pest destruction goes viral. Nature Biotechnology 32:65-66.
  • Yao, J., Rotenberg, D., Afsharifar, A., Barandoc-Alviar K., Whitfield, A.E. 2013 Development of RNAi methods for Peregrinus maidis, the corn planthopper. PLoS ONE 8(8): e70243.
  • Elbeaino, T., Whitfield. A.E., Sharma, M., Digiaro, M. 2013. Emaravirus-specific degenerate PCR primers allowed the identification of partial RNA-dependent RNA polymerase sequences of Maize red stripe virus and Pigeonpea sterility mosaic virus. Journal of Virological Methods 188: 37-40.
  • Nachappa, P., Margolies, D.C., Nechols, J.R., Whitfield, A.E., and Rotenberg, D. 2013. Tomato spotted wilt virus benefits a non-vector arthropod, Tetranychus urticae, by modulating different plant responses in tomato. PLoS ONE 8(9): e75909.
  • Jacobson, A.L., Johnston, .S. Rotenberg, D., Whitfield, A.E., Booth, W., Vargo, E.L., Kennedy, G.G. 2013. Genome size and ploidy of Thysanoptera. Insect Molecular Biology 22: 12-17.
  • Redinbaugh, M.G., Ammar, E.D. and Whitfield, A.E. Chapter 10: Cereal Rhabdovirus Interactions with Vectors. In: Rhabdoviruses: Molecular Taxonomy, Evolution, Genomics, Ecology, Cytopathology and Control, R. Dietzgen and I. Kuzmin, eds. Horizon Scientific Press, London, pp. 147-163
  • Dietzgen, R.G., Calisher, C.H., Kurath, G., Kuzmin, I.V., Rodriguez, L.L., Stone, D.M., Tesh, R.B., Tordo, N., Walker, P.J., Wetzel, T., Whitfield, A.E. 2012. Rhabdoviridae. Pages 686-713 in: Virus taxonomy: classification and nomenclature of viruses: Ninth Report of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. Ed: King, A.M.Q., Adams, M.J., Carstens, E.B. and Lefkowitz, E.J. San Diego: Elsevier.
  • Badillo-Vargas, I., Rotenberg, D., Schneweis, D. J., Hiromasa, Y., Tomich, J. M., and Whitfield, A.E. 2012. Proteomic analysis of the first instar larvae of Frankliniella occidentalis, the insect vector ofTomato spotted wilt virus. Journal of Virology 86:8793-8809.
  • Whitfield, A.E., Rotenberg, D., Artiua, V., and Hogenhout, S.A. 2011. Analysis of expressed sequence tags from Maize mosaic rhabdovirus-infected gut tissues of Peregrinus maidis reveals the presence of key components of insect innate immunity. Insect Molecular Biology 20: 225-242.
  • Rotenberg D., and Whitfield A. E. 2010 Analysis of expressed sequence tags for Frankliniella occidentalis, the western flower thrips. Insect Molecular Biology 19:537-51.
  • Ammar, E.D., Tsai, C.W., Whitfield, A.E., Redinbaugh, M.G., and Hogenhout, S.A. Cellular and molecular aspects of rhabdovirus interactions with insect and plant hosts. Annual Review of Entomology 54:447-468.
  • Rotenberg, D., Kumar, N.K.K., Zeitlow, C., Willis, D.K., German, T.L., Ullman, D.E., and Whitfield, A.E. Variation in Tomato spotted wilt virus titer in Frankliniella occidentalis and its association with frequency of transmission. Phytopathology 99:404-410.
  • Whitfield, A.E., Kumar, N.K.K., Rotenberg, D., Wyman, E.A., Zeitlow, C., Willis, D.K., and German, T.L. A soluble form of Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) Gn (Gn-S) inhibits transmission of TSWV by Frankliniella occidentalis. Phytopathology 98:45-50.
  • Hogenhout, S.A., Ammar, E.D., Whitfield, A.E., and Redinbaugh, M.G. 2008. Insect vector interactions with persistently transmitted viruses. Annual Review of Phytopathology 46:327-359.
  • Whitfield, A.E., Ullman, D.E., and German, T.L. 2005. Tomato spotted wilt virus glycoprotein Gc is cleaved at acidic pH. Virus Research 110:183-186.
  • Whitfield, A.E., Ullman, D.E., and German, T.L. 2005. Tospovirus-thrips Interactions. Annual Review of Phytopathology 43:459-489.
  • Ullman, D.E., Whitfield, A.E., and German, T.L. 2005. Thrips and tospoviruses come of age: mapping determinants of insect transmission. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 102:4931-4932.
  • Whitfield, A.E., Ullman, D.E., and German, T.L. 2004. Expression, purification and characterization of a soluble form of Tomato spotted wilt virus glycoprotein GN. Journal of Virology 78:13197-13206.
  • Whitfield, A.E., Campbell, L.R., Sherwood, J.L. and Ullman, D.E. 2003. Tissue blot immunoassay to detect tomato spotted wilt virus in Ranunculus asiaticus and other ornamentals. Plant Disease 87:618-622.
  • Ullman, D.E., Meideros, R.B., Campbell, L.R., Whitfield, A.E., Sherwood, J.L., and German, T.L. 2002. Thrips as Vectors of Tospoviruses. pgs 113-140 in: Advances in Botanical Research Plant Virus Vector Interactions. R.T. Plub and J.A. Callow, Eds. Academic Press, London.
  • Sherwood, J.L., German, T.L., Whitfield, A.E., Moyer, J.W., and Ullman, D.E. 2001. Tospoviruses. Pg. 1034-1040 in: The Encyclopedia of Plant Pathology. O.C. Maloy and T.D. Murray, eds. John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
  • Sherwood, J.L. German, T.L., Whitfield, A.E., Moyer, J.W., and Ullman, D.E. 2001. Tomato Spotted Wilt. Pgs 1030-1031 in: The Encyclopedia of Plant Pathology. O.C. Maloy and T.D. Murray, Eds. John Wiley and Sons, Inc.


Arthropod vectors play an essential role in dissemination of viruses; more than 70% of plant-infecting viruses are transmitted from one host to another by arthropod vectors. My research is devoted to investigating plant-virus-vector interactions at the molecular level with the goal of developing a better understanding of the complex sequence of events leading to virus acquisition and transmission by vectors. The virus life cycle is inextricably linked to fundamental host processes and this intimate association poses a challenge for plant virologists searching for ways to develop novel control strategies that specifically attack the infection cycle of viruses without compromising the health of host plants.

In my lab, we are working with the following arthropod vector and plant virus combinations: 1) Frankliniella occidentalis (Western flower thrips) and Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV); 2) Peregrinus maidis (corn planthopper) and Maize mosaic rhabdovirus (MMV); and 3) Aceria tosichella (wheat curl mite) and Wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV). Our research goals are to identify insect genes that are important for virus infection of the arthropod vectors using a functional genomics-based approach, develop a better understanding of virus entry and the role of viral glycoproteins in this process, and develop diagnostic tools for virus detection and monitoring in the plant and vector hosts.

Staff & Students

  • Kathleen (Kate) Martin, Fellow (Post-Doc)
  • Jonathan Oliver, Fellow (Post-Doc)
  • Catherine Stewart, Ph.D. Student


  • PLPTH 835: Plant Virology
  • PLPTH 837: Plant-Virus-Vector-Interactions