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Sinaloa Tomato Leaf Curl Geminivirus: Biological and Molecular Evidence for a New Subgroup III Virus

July 1998 , Volume 88 , Number  7
Pages  648 - 657

A. M. Idris and J. K. Brown

Department of Plant Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson 85721

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Accepted for publication 1 April 1998.

The biological and molecular properties of Sinaloa tomato leaf curl virus (STLCV) were investigated in line with the hypothesis that STLCV is a previously uncharacterized, whitefly-transmitted geminivirus from North America. STLCV causes yellow leaf curl symptoms in tomato and yellow-green foliar mottle in pepper. Five species belonging to two plant families were STLCV experimental hosts. STLCV had a persistent relationship with its whitefly vector, Bemisia tabaci. Polymerase chain reaction fragments of STLCV common region (CR) sequences of the A or B genomic components and the viral coat protein gene (AV1) were molecularly cloned and sequenced. The STLCV A- and B-component CR sequences (174 nucleotides each) shared 97.9% identity and contained identical cis elements putatively involved in transcriptional regulation and an origin of replication (the AC cleavage site within the loop of the hairpin structure and two direct repeat sequences thought to constitute the Rep binding motif), which collectively are diagnostic for subgroup III geminiviruses. The STLCV CR sequence shared 23.1 to 77.6% identity with CR sequences of representative geminiviridae, indicating the STLCV CR sequence is unique. Molecular phylogenetic analysis of CR or AV1 sequences of STLCV and the respective sequences of 31 familial members supported the placement of STLCV as a unique bipartite, subgroup III virus most closely related to other viruses from the Western Hemisphere. STLCV is provisionally described as a new species within the genus Begomovirus, family Geminiviridae.

Additional keywords: pepper virus , solanaceous virus , whitefly-transmitted virus .

© 1998 The American Phytopathological Society