Pigeon pea is an important pulse crop grown in diversified cropping systems in India. In the rainy season of August 2011 and September 2012, pigeon pea cv. LRG 30 plants with leaf necrosis having wrinkled margin on one side were observed in Kadiri mandal of the Anantapuram district of Andhra Pradesh (A.P.), India. Symptoms included necrotic spots on young leaves followed by wilting of leaves, petiole and branch/axillary shoot proliferation, with small leaves having mosaic symptoms. Symptomatic leaves were sap-inoculated onto 10 seedlings of cowpea (cv. Pusa Komal) using 0.01 M phosphate buffer (pH 7.0). Localized necrotic lesions developed in all the inoculated plants after 2 days post inoculation. Field symptoms were reproduced on healthy pigeon pea upon back inoculation using single lesions of infected cowpea leaves. In direct antigen coating (DAC)-ELISA, all the infected pigeon pea and cowpea leaf samples were positive to a polyclonal antiserum specific to Tobacco streak virus (TSV) supplied by ICRISAT, India. Total RNA was extracted using infected pigeon pea and healthy leaf samples by TRI Reagent (Sigma). Reverse transcription (RT)-PCR was carried out using primers specific to the coat protein (CP) gene of TSV (1). A product of the 700-bp DNA fragment was obtained in field-infected pigeon pea samples but not in healthy controls. The amplicon was cloned into PTZ57R/T using the Ins TA clone PCR kit (Fermentas). Recombinant clone was sequenced in both directions and the CP gene sequence obtained was deposited in GenBank (KF220492). Sequence analysis of the CP gene of TSV from pigeon pea shared 98 to 100% identity with Indian TSV isolates originating from different hosts including groundnut (FJ355948), mung bean (FJ749259), and sunflower (DQ864448), and 88 to 92% similarity with TSV type isolate (white clover: X00435) both at nucleotide and amino acid levels. TSV belongs to the genus Ilarvirus of family Bromoviride and has a wide host range. TSV is pollen borne, assisted by thrips causing mechanical injury (2). To our knowledge, this is the first report of TSV on pigeon pea in India and was widespread in Anantapuram, Kadapa, Kurnool, and Mahbubnagar districts of A.P. Yield loss depends on the stage of infection as early infection resulted in complete failure of the crop. TSV was prevalent on many legume crops such as black gram, green gram, and groundnut in A.P, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Maharashtra states (3). TSV infection of pigeon pea may pose a serious implication for pulse production.
References: (1). A. I. Bhat et al. Arch. Virol. 147:651, 2002. (2). M. Sharman et al. Australian Plant Dis. 6:54, 2011. (3). K. Vemana and R. K. Jain. Indian J. Virol. 21:117, 2010.
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