In Guangxi Province of southwest China, diseases caused by Tospoviruses (family Bunyaviridae) pose a serious threat to tobacco (Nicotiana tobacum) production. During surveys conducted annually at Xinrong Village in Jingxi County from 2008 to 2010, more than 130 ha of fields were found to have 10 to 50% of plants exhibiting symptoms similar to spotted wilt caused by Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV). During this period, disease symptoms at similar prevalence and incidence were also found at Fushan, Debao County in most of the cultivars produced in these areas, including Yunyan 85, 87, 92, 97, and K326. Symptoms on tobacco varied but commonly included dwarfing, midrib browning, distorted apical buds, and concentric ringspots that coalesced to form large areas of dead leaf tissue. Mechanical inoculation from diseased tobacco leaves with concentric ringspots back to tobacco cv. Yunyan 85 or 87, resulted in 12 of 16 plants with symptoms similar to those observed in the field. No symptoms on plants developed following inoculation with buffer only. Symptoms found in the field resembled those caused by TSWV. However, testing using TSWV-specific antiserum was shown to be negative by double-antibody sandwich-ELISA (Agdia, Elkhart, IN). Total RNA was extracted from 27 diseased tobacco plants collected from different regions in Guangxi using Trizol reagent (Invitrogen, Carlsbad, CA) according to the manufacturer's instructions. RNA extracts were amplified by reverse transcription (RT)-PCR using the degenerate primers T2740 (ATGGGDATNTTTGATTTCATG) and T3920c (TCATGCTCATSAGRTAAATYTCTCT) designed to target the partial RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) sequence of members in the genus Tospovirus (3). Amplification was performed at 42°C for 60 min, followed by 35 cycles of PCR (30 s denaturation at 94°C, 45 s annealing at 55°C, and 30 s extension at 72°C) and a 7-min final extension at 72°C. A PCR product of approximately 1.2 kb was amplified from 21 diseased plants. RT-PCR amplicons were cloned into the pUC19-T Simple Vector (TaKaRa, Dalian, China) and sequenced in both directions. Sequences were assembled and analyzed by DNAStar 5.01 (DNASTAR, Madison, WI). Sequences of representative isolates were deposited in GenBank (Accession Nos. JN020022 to JN020027). The 1.2-kb partial RdRp sequences of these isolates were shown to have 94.4 to 95.3% nucleotide identity and 96.5 to 97.5% amino acids identity to Tomato zonate spot virus (TZSV) (GenBank Accession No. NC_010491) (1). Among these TZSV isolates from Guangxi, the partial RdRp sequences have 98.0 to 99.4% nucleotide identity and 98.8 to 100% amino acids identity with each other. The presence of TZSV was further confirmed in diseased tobacco plants by indirect ELISA using antiserum of TZSV (provided by Prof. Zhongkai Zhang, Agricultural Academy of Yunnan, China). TZSV has been characterized as a novel tospovirus on various hosts including tobacco in Yunnan province (1,2). To our knowledge, this is the first report of TZSV-associated disease on tobacco in Guangxi Province, southwest China. Further work is necessary to study the epidemiology and management of the disease.
References: (1) J. Dong et al. Arch. Virol. 153:855, 2008. (2) J. Dong et al. J. Insect Sci. 10:166, 2010. (3) Y. Lin. Master Thesis. National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan, Republic of China, 2007.
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