Viburnum tinus L., commonly known as laurustinus, is an ornamental shrub that is widely used as a garden plant and flower crop. V. tinus is popular because of its desirable characteristics such as evergreen foliage, tolerance to pruning, winter blooms, and its adaptation to cold temperate zones. It is also relatively easy to grow and is commonly used as a windbreak. Infection of this ornamental species by Alfalfa mosaic virus (AMV) has been associated with yellow mottling or variegated leaf coloring, including light green and white, and has been referred to as the “Viburnum Calico” (1,4). In April 2011, at the onset of winter in the Southern Hemisphere, intense yellow spotting and mottling was observed on V. tinus leaves in the San Joaquin Campus at Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. Presence of Aphis spiraecola Patch was observed on the shrubs, however, in the area it is also common to find other aphid species such as Toxoptera aurantii (Boyer de Fonscolombe) and A. fabae Scopoli. Leaf tissue samples from 10 asymptomatic and 10 symptomatic plants were examined for the presence of AMV by tissue-blot immunoassay with a commercially available polyclonal antibody (Agdia Inc., Elkhart, IN) along with the Goat affinity purified anti-rabbit IgG conjugated (Whole Molecule) (Molecular Probes, Invitrogen Corp., Carlsbad, CA). First-strand cDNA synthesis and PCR were performed with specific primers CP-AMV1 and CP-AMV2 (3). AMV was detected in all symptomatic leaves and also in two of the asymptomatic tissue analyzed by tissue blot assay. Reverse transcription (RT)-PCR produced 753-bp amplicons in all samples that were positive to AMV by tissue printing. No amplification product was observed when water control or seronegative samples were used as templates in the RT-PCR assays. Two amplicons were directly sequenced in both directions to confirm the identification of AMV in the leaf samples. The sequences obtained were homologous and BLASTN analysis of the submitted sequence (GenBank Accession No. JN040542) showed 99% nucleotide sequence identity to an AMV isolate described from Nicotiana tabacum L. (GenBank Accession No. FJ527749). These results demonstrate the presence of AMV in V. tinus in Chile. This pathogen has also been described to be affecting V. tinus in France (1) and V. lucidum Mill. in Spain (2). In Chile, V. tinum is increasingly grown as an ornamental plant. Therefore, care should be taken to ensure that the propagative materials of V. tinum are devoid of AMV infection to prevent further spread of this virus.
References: (1) L. Cardin et al. Plant Dis. 90:1115, 2006. (2) M. Cebrián et al. Plant Dis. 92:1132, 2008. (3) M. Finetti-Sialer et al. J. Plant Pathol. 79:115, 1997. (4) H. E. Williams et al. Phytopathology 61:1305, 1971.
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