Unusual virus-like symptoms were first observed in 2001 on grapevine cvs. Pinot gris and Sauvignonasse in vineyards from the western part of Slovenia. Symptomatic plants showed shortened internodes, poor leaf development, mottling, and deformations of leaves that resulted in poor growth of symptomatic plants. In 2003 and 2004, several samples were tested for Arabis mosaic virus, Cherry leafroll virus, Grapevine fanleaf virus, Raspberry bushy dwarf virus, Strawberry latent ringspot virus, Tomato black ring virus, Tomato ringspot virus, and Tobacco ringspot virus by DAS-ELISA, but none of them could be confirmed as the cause of the observed symptoms. During intensive visual inspections between 2002 and 2006, the symptoms were observed on most grapevine cultivars grown in the Primorska region but predominantly on the two previously mentioned cultivars. In Trentino, northern Italy, similar virus-like symptoms, i.e., chlorotic mottling, puckering and deformation of the leaves, reduced yield, and low quality of the berries were observed in grapevine plants cv. Pinot gris in 2003 and in cvs. Traminer and Pinot noir in 2009 (2). No common grapevine viruses could be associated with the disease. In 2012, a new trichovirus named Grapevine Pinot gris virus (GPGV) was found in Pinot gris plants using deep sequencing. The virus was also detected in symptomless plants (2). GPGV was later reported also from Korea causing inner necrosis of berries and poor fruit set in grapevine cv. Tamnara (1). In 2012, 42 leaf samples from mostly symptomatic grapevine plants of cvs. Pinot gris, Pinot noir, and Muscat blanc were collected at three locations in the Primorska region. Total RNA was extracted from leaves using the MagMAX Express magnetic particle processor with MagMAX-96 Total RNA Isolation Kit and Plant RNA Isolation Aid in Lysis Binding Solution Concentrate (all by Life Technologies, Grand Island, NY). DNA fragments of 1,049 bp corresponding to the movement protein gene were successfully amplified by RT-PCR from 40 samples using primers GPgV5619 and GPgV6668 (2). Amplification products from three plants were cloned into the pGEM-T Easy vector (Promega, Madison, WI) and sequenced. The sequences were deposited in the EBI database under the accession numbers HG738850 to 52. All the nucleotide sequences shared 97.4 to 97.6% identity with GPGV from Italy (sequence FR877530) and 97.1 to 98.2% amino acid identity within the translated region. To our knowledge, this is the first report of GPGV in Slovenia. The disease seems to be spreading extensively in the Primorska region, causing considerable economic losses, and in 2013 it was also observed in other regions of Slovenia. Since the virus could be found in symptomless plants in Italy and in Slovenia, its role in the development of the disease should be further investigated.
References: (1) I. S. Cho et al. New Dis. Rep. 27:10, 2013. (2) A. Giampetruzzi et al. Virus Res. 163:262, 2012.
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