Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is one of the most important crops in eastern Asia, including Korea. Consumption of sweet potato is increasing gradually because of its growing reputation as a health food. Recently, outbreaks of viruses infecting sweet potatoes have increased all over the world, probably because sweet potatoes are produced via vegetative propagation (1,2). In Korea, most sweet potatoes in fields have been infected by a begomovirus, Sweet potato leaf curl virus (SPLCV), and other viruses such as Sweet potato feathery mottle virus, Sweet potato virus G, and Sweet potato latent virus (3). Many countries have monitored sweet potato virus infections in fields as well as in germplasm collections to select virus-free stocks. In 2013, 20 sweet potato plants showing leaf roll symptoms in Muan, South Korea, were collected and analyzed. Total DNA was isolated from sweet potato leaves (Viral Gene-spin Viral DNA/RNA Extraction Kit, iNtRON Biotechnology, Seongnam, Korea) and viral DNA was amplified by rolling circle amplification (RCA, TempliPhi Amplification Kit, GE Healthcare Life Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden) following the manufacturer's instructions. Amplicons were digested by restriction enzyme SacI (TaKaRa Bio, Shiga, Japan) and products were run on a 1.5% agarose gel. A 2.8-kb DNA fragment was purified from a gel, ligated into a pGEM-T easy vector (Promega, Madison, WI), and sequenced (Macrogen, Seoul, Korea). Based on a BLAST search, most of the sequences (36/38) were identified as SPLCV, but two independent clones 2,824 nt in length from sweet potato cv. Sincheonmi were similar to Sweet potato golden vein associated virus (SPGVaV) isolate US:MS:1B-3 (94.38%, GenBank Accession No. HQ333143). The complete genome sequence of the SPGVaV-Korea isolate contained six ORFs, as expected for a typical monopartite begomovirus. The sequence was deposited in GenBank under accession number KF803170. SPGVaV is a whitefly (Bemisia tabaci)-transmitted virus (genus Begomovirus, family Geminiviridae). A phylogenetic analysis that included other begomoviruses that infect sweet potato showed SPGVaV-Korea to segregate with other SPGVaV isolates. SPGVaV has previously only been reported in Brazil and the United States (1). This is the first report of SPGVaV in sweet potato outside of the Americas.
References: (1) L. C. Albuquerque et al. Virol. J. 9:241, 2012. (2) E. Choi et al. Acta Virol. 56:187, 2012. (3) H. R. Kwak et al. Plant Pathol. J. 22:239, 2006.
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