Passion fruit (Passiflora edulis × Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa) ‘Tainung No. 1’ is the main variety cultivated in Taiwan, which is a hybrid and propagated only by grafting. In the spring of 2011, plants with systemic mottle and malformation on leaves were found in some orchards located in Puli and Nantou in central Taiwan. Interestingly, after 3 months of growth, most of these diseased plants became symptomless when the weather became warmer. Nevertheless, some striped concaves were observed on immature fruit surfaces of diseased plants. In March of 2011, two leaf samples exhibiting mosaic and three samples showing malformation were collected and tested by DAS-ELISA; none positively reacted with antibodies against the Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV), East Asian passiflora virus (EAPV), Passion fruit mottle virus (PaMV), or Passion fruit crinkle virus (PCV) that have previously occurred in Taiwan. Rolling-circle amplification (RCA) with hexamer primers were adopted to analyze potential begomoviruses that were prevalent on the other crops in Taiwan (3). The RCA amplified products were digested with BamHI and separated on 1.2% agarose by gel electrophoresis. A fragment, about 3 kb, was purified from each gel and cloned into the respective site of pBluescript SK(-) individually. Clones were screened by EcoRI digestion and two types of restriction fragment length patterns were found among them. One type of a clone containing 2,745 nucleotides (Accession No. KC161185) with 98.5% identity to Euphorbia leaf curl virus (EuLCV) (1) and the other type of a clone containing 2,732 nucleotides (KC161184) with 91.7% identity to Papaya leaf curl Guangdong virus (PaLCuGDV) (2) were revealed by nucleotide comparisons of their DNA-A in GenBank. Accordingly, we confirmed the existence of passiflora isolates of EuLCV and PaLCuGDV. PCR primers CPup/Edw/Pdw (5′TGTGAAGG(A/C/G/T)CC(A/G/T)TGTAA(A/G)GT3′/5′CGCAGTTT CTGGAGGATATTAAG3′/5′TCGCATGCCACTTCCTCAGT3′) were designed to differentiate these viruses by amplifying a 235 bp DNA fragment for EuLCV and 345 bp for PaLCuGDV. In a brief survey, all 26 passion fruit leaf samples collected from seven orchards were double infected with EuLCV and PaLCuGDV; only six samples collected from a specific orchard were found to harbor the PaLCuGDV infection. Thirty-seven seedlings from passion fruit (P. edulis f. flavicarpa) seeds were indexed and all were free from both viruses. Five virus-free plantlets of P. edulis f. flavicarpa, one EuLCV and PalCuGDV double infected P. edulis × P. edulis f. flavicarpa, and 20 whiteflies were put into one net tent for 2 months, and then the five plantlets were tested by PCR. The two EuLCV and PalCuGDV specific fragments were amplified from all five plantlets. The two begomoviruses cause mild symptoms on passion fruit plant but the appearance of the fruit was affected. To our knowledge, this is the first report of begomoviruses infecting passion fruit in Taiwan and in Asia.
References: (1) X. Ma et al. J. Phytopathol. 152:215. (2) X. Wang et al. Virus Genes 29:303. (3) C. Wu et al. J. Virol. Methods 147:355.
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