Sugarcane yellow leaf virus (ScYLV) causes severe leaf symptoms in sugarcane (Saccharum spp.). It is a single-stranded RNA virus assigned to the genus Polerovirus, family Luteoviridae (1). ScYLV is transmitted by two aphid species, Melanaphis sacchari and Rhopalosiphum maidis. Although barley (Hordeum vulgare), oats (Avena sativa), and wheat (Triticum spp.) are susceptible to ScYLV when experimentally inoculated (3), this virus, related serologically to Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV)-RPV (4), has never been detected naturally in these cereals. In this study, 240 barley leaves were randomly collected from six fields in Tunisia following a north-south trend during the high infestation periods (March/April) in the 2013 growing season. Samples were tested by DAS-ELISA, using three antibodies (Bioreba AG, Switzerland), two of them, BYDV-B and BYDV-F, specific to luteoviruses corresponding to BYDV-PAV and BYDV-MAV, respectively, and the third one, BYDV-RPV, specific to the polerovirus synonymous to Cereal yellow dwarf virus (CYDV)-RPV. Based on DAS-ELISA, 30 samples were found positive for B/CYDV infection; 17 out of the 30 infected samples contained a single serotype, BYDV-PAV, and 13 out of the 30 infected samples contained two serotypes, PAV and RPV. Total RNA was extracted from all positive samples, and RT-PCR of the viral CP gene was performed with Lu1/Lu4 primers (2). A product of 531 bp was cloned and sequenced. The identities among the sequences determined varied between 80 to 100%, and from the 17 samples containing BYDV-PAV, six distinct BYDV-PAV sequences were revealed and named PAV-TN1 to PAV-TN6 (GenBank Accession No. JX402453 to JX402457 and KF271792). Fortuitously, all 13 positive samples corresponding to the serotypes PAV-RPV exhibited 98.7 to 99.3% identity with ScYLV isolates. These 13 samples contained three distinct sequences that were named ScYLV-Tun1 to ScYLV-Tun3 (GenBank Accession No. KF836888 to KF836890). Of the 17 PAV-positive samples collected, six were infected with PAV-TN1, four with PAV-TN2, four with PAV-TN3, one with PAV-TN4, one with PAV-TN5, and the last one with PAV-TN6. Of the 13 ScYLV-positive samples, seven were infected with ScYLV-Tun1, four with ScYLV-Tun2, and two with ScYLV-Tun3. Phylogenetic analysis showed that PAV-TN sequences formed a very tight cluster (>98%) corresponding to BYDV subspecies PAV-II, whereas all three Tunisian ScYLV sequences were clustered together. This study provides the first report of ScYLV isolates infecting barley crops in Tunisia, and confirms serological cross-reactivity between ScYLV and BYDV-RPV when commercial antibodies against BYDV-RPV are used.
References: (1) C. J. D'Arcy and L. L. Domier. Page 891 in: Virus Taxonomy, 8th Report of the ICTV. C. M. Fauquet et al., eds. Springer-Verlag, New York, 2005. (2) N. L. Robertson and R. French. J. Gen. Virol. 72:1473, 1991. (3) S. Schenck and A. T. Lehrer. Plant Dis. 84:1085, 2000. (4) J. Vega et al. Plant Dis. 81:21, 1997.
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