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An Analysis of Host Adaptation and Its Relationship with Virulence in Cucumber mosaic virus

July 2005 , Volume 95 , Number  7
Pages  827 - 833

Soledad Sacristán , Aurora Fraile , José M. Malpica , and Fernando García-Arenal

First, second, and fourth authors: Departamento de Biotecnología, E.T.S.I. Agrónomos, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain; and third author: Departamento de Biotecnología, Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria, Ctra. de La Coruña km 7.5, 28040 Madrid, Spain

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Accepted for publication 16 March 2005.

The host range of a pathogen can have special consequences on its evolution and the evolution of its virulence. For generalists, adaptation to different hosts may be conditioned by different trade-offs in the pathogen's life history and be affected by evolutionary processes that shape pathogen populations. We have examined adaptation of Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) to different hosts, and analyzed the relationship between host adaptation and virulence. For this, six CMV isolates from central Spain from three different hosts were compared for the ability to multiply and to affect host growth. These analyses were done before and after an experimental evolution process consisting of 10 serial passages in the original host of the isolate. The differential capacity to infect different hosts was compatible with host adaptation. However, the capacity to multiply in different hosts did not provide evidence of host adaptation and was not improved after 10 passages, suggesting that fitness of the natural population of CMV was at, or near to, its maximum. No relationship was found between capacity of multiplication and virulence in any of the three different hosts. These results suggest that the “trade-off” model for the evolution of virulence may not apply to CMV.

Additional keywords: multihost pathogens , virulence evolution , virus evolution .

© 2005 The American Phytopathological Society