A field isolate of Potato virus Y (PVY) was collected in New Brunswick, Canada in 2007 due to unusual symptoms observed on different potato cultivars. To unveil the PVY strain identity, tobacco and potato bioassays, PVYO and PVYN-specific antibody-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, and reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based genotyping were carried out. All the assays demonstrated that the isolate, designated as PVYO-FL in this study, belonged to the PVYO strain group. Greenhouse tests with the potato cvs. FL 1533 and Jemseg confirmed the severe nature of infection by PVYO-FL. The complete genome sequences of PVYO-FL and PVYO-RB, the latter a mild PVYO isolate, were determined. BLAST analysis revealed that the two isolates shared 97 and 98% sequence identities at the nucleotide and polyprotein levels, respectively. Further BLAST analysis unveiled that PVYO-FL shared 99.7% nucleotide sequence identity with PVYO-Oz, an isolate reported in New York, United States, whereas the PVYO-RB isolate shared 99.2% sequence identity with PVYO-139, a PVYO isolate reported in New Brunswick, Canada. A phylogenetic tree of available, full-length sequences of PVY isolates demonstrated two subgroups within the PVYO branch, one clustered with PVYO-RB and the other with PVYO-FL. Group-specific sense primers for differentiation of the two subgroups were developed and evaluated. A limited survey of potato tubers collected from a field plot at the Potato Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, using the newly developed PCR primers, indicated that 65.3 and 2.4% of the PVYO-positive tubers were infected with PVYO isolates belonging to the PVYO-FL and PVYO-RB subgroups, respectively. Assessment of the pathogenicity of three representative isolates from each subgroup on the potato cv. Jemseg demonstrated that severe and mild symptoms were induced by the PVYO-FL-like and PVYO-RB-like isolates, respectively.
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