Large leaf gentian, Gentiana macrophylla Pall., known as Qin Jiao in Chinese, is a medicinal herb. Its root is most commonly used in Chinese traditional medicine to relieve rheumatic conditions and to remove damp-heat. During a survey in July 2009, large leaf gentian plants exhibiting foliar chlorotic and necrotic spots as well as severe stunting were collected in Lijiang County, Yunnan Province of China. Incidence of symptomatic plants ranged from 10 to 30% in the field. Symptomatic leaves from five different G. macrophylla plants were collected and tested for Impatiens necrotic spot virus (INSV), Tomato spotted wilt virus, Watermelon silver mottle virus, Groundnut bud necrosis virus, Tomato chlorotic spot virus, and Groundnut ringspot virus by double-antibody sandwich-ELISA kits (Agdia Inc., Elkhart, IN). All tested samples were positive only for INSV. To further confirm the presence of INSV, reverse transcription (RT)-PCR was conducted. Total RNA was extracted from the symptomatic large leaf gentian plants leaves with a RNeasy Plant Kit (Qiagen Inc., Valencia, CA) and used as a template in RT-PCR using forward (5′-CTT TGC TTT TTA GAA CTG TGC A-3′) and reverse (5′-AGA GCA ATT GTG TCA CGA ATA T-3′) primers specific to the partial INSV nucleoprotein (N) gene (GenBank No. DQ425096). Amplicons of the expected size (approximately 760 bp) were obtained from all ELISA-positive samples. Three clones were sequenced and the partial nucleocapsid protein genes consensus sequences of these isolates were determined (GenBank No. HQ317133). Nucleotide sequences of large leaf gentian isolates shared 98 to 99% nucleotide identity with INSV sequences of isolates from China, Italy, Japan, United States, and the Netherlands (GenBank Nos. FN400772, GQ336989, DQ425096, AB109100, D00914, AB109100, and X66972). INSV is one of the most serious viral pathogens of ornamental plants in North America, Europe, and Asia (1–3). To our knowledge, this is the first report of natural occurrence of INSV in G. macrophylla in China.
References: (1) S. T. Koike. Plant Dis. 92:1248, 2008. (2) E. K. Tóth et al. Plant Dis. 91:331, 2007. (3) Q. Zhang et al. Plant Dis. 94:915, 2010.
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