In eastern Australia, there have been several as yet unconfirmed reports of Wheat mosaic virus (WMoV) infecting wheat (3). WMoV, previously known as High plains virus (HPV), is transmitted by the wheat curl mite (WCM, Aceria tosichella). It is often found in mixed infections with Wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV), also transmitted by WCM (2,3). WSMV was first identified in Australia in 2003 (3). In October 2012, stunted wheat plants with severe yellow leaf streaking were common in a field experiment near Corrigin in Western Australia consisting of nine wheat cultivars. These symptoms were also common in two commercial crops of wheat cv. Mace near Kulin. Leaf samples (one per plant) from each location were tested by ELISA using specific antiserum to WMoV (syn. HPV 17200, Agdia, Elkhart, IN). At the field experiment, 20 leaf samples were collected at random from each wheat plot (4 replicates) and tested individually by ELISA. WMoV incidence was 5% for cv. Yipti, 16% for cvs Emu Rock, Wyalkatchem and Mace, 22% for cvs. Corack, Fortune, Calingiri, and Magenta, and 55% for cv. Cobra. From the two commercial wheat crops, 100 leaf samples were collected at random from each and tested by ELISA. WMoV incidence was 2 and 4%. In addition, 50 leaf samples of Hordeum leporinum (barley grass) and 20 of Lolium rigidum (annual ryegrass) were collected and tested by ELISA. WMoV incidence was 2% in H. leporinum, but 0% in L. rigidum. Infected H. leporinum plants were symptomless. Symptomatic wheat leaf samples from both sites were tested by RT-PCR using WMoV specific primers designed from its RNA3 sequence (1). The PCR products (339 bp) were sequenced and lodged in GenBank (Accession Nos KC337341 and KC337342). WMoV isolates from Corrigin (WA-CG12) and Kulin (WA-KU12) had identical sequences. When the nucleic acid sequences of WA-CG12 and WA-KU12 were compared with those of the three other WMoV isolates on GenBank, they had 100% nucleotide sequence identity with a Nebraska isolate (U60141), and 99.7% identity to two United States sweet corn isolates (AY836524 and AY836525). Ten symptomatic wheat plants were collected from each location, transplanted into pots and leaf samples tested individually for WMoV and WSMV (07048, Loewe, Germany) by ELISA. All were infected with both viruses and infested with WCM. WCM-infested glumes (>10 WCM/glume) were placed on the leaf sheaths of 60 wheat plants cv. Calingiri (35 with WA-CG12 and 25 with WA-KU12) and 13 sweet corn plants cv. Snow Gold (WA-CG12 only). In addition, 20 wheat and 10 sweet corn plants were left without infested glumes to be uninoculated controls. All 60 WCM-inoculated wheat plants became stunted with severe leaf streaking. When leaf samples from each plant were tested by ELISA 18 to 30 days later, both viruses were detected. WMoV was detected in all 13 WCM-inoculated sweet corn plants and WSMV in two of them. Plants with WMoV alone initially had short chlorotic leaf streaks that subsequently combined, causing broad streaks. These are typical WMoV symptoms for sweet corn (1). No symptoms developed and no virus was detected in any of the uninoculated wheat or sweet corn control plants. The WMoV nucleotide sequence obtained from an infected sweet corn plant was identical to those of WA-CG12 and WA-KU12. To our knowledge, this is the first confirmed report of WMoV presence in Australia.
References: (1) B. S. M. Lebas et al. Plant Dis. 89:1103, 2005. (2) D. Navia et al. Exp. Appl. Acarol. 59:95, 2013. (3) J. M. Skare et al. Virology 347:343, 2006.
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