Department of Plant Pathology, University of Missouri, Columbia 65211, U.S.A.
Cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) strain CM1841 is able to recombine with a CaMV transgene sequence present in Nicotiana bigelovii. In the present study we have characterized the temporal and spatial appearance of recombinant viruses formed between CM1841 and the transgene within individual transgenic plants. CM1841 infections were initiated by mechanical inoculation and by agro-inoculation to nontransformed N. bigelovii and transgenic N. bigelovii that expressed the gene VI product of CaMV strain D4. In agroinoculated transgenic plants, inoculated leaf tissue turned necrotic around the point of agroinocu-lation, while chlorotic lesions appeared in the leaves inoculated with CM1841 virions. The first systemic symptoms in both agroinoculated and mechanically inoculated transgenic N. bigelovii consisted of necrotic patches. The predominant type of virus recovered from the inoculated and first systemically infected leaves was the wild-type CM1841 rather than a recombinant. As the infection progressed in the transgenic plants, symptoms changed from necrosis in the lower leaves to a chlorotic mosaic in the upper leaves. This shift in symptom type was associated with the recovery of recombinant viruses, indicating that the recombinants predominated only in later stages of pathogenesis.