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Novel Naturally Occurring Bean pod mottle virus Reassortants with Mixed Heterologous RNA1 Genomes

January 2007 , Volume 97 , Number  1
Pages  79 - 86

Hongcang Gu , Chunquan Zhang , and Said A. Ghabrial

Department of Plant Pathology, University of Kentucky, Lexington 40546

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Accepted for publication 28 July 2006.

The comovirus Bean pod mottle virus (BPMV) is widespread in the soybean-growing regions in the United States. It has a bipartite genome consisting of RNA1 and RNA2, which are encapsidated separately. We previously have reported the occurrence in nature of two distinct subgroups of BPMV strains (subgroups I and II), as well as reassortants between the two subgroups. Here, we report the isolation and molecular characterization of naturally occurring partial diploid reassortant strains, which are diploid for RNA1 and haploid for RNA2. Whereas the RNA1s of the partial diploids are derived from two distinct strain subgroups (I and II), the RNA2 is derived from either subgroup I or II. The partial diploid strains induced strikingly severe symptoms on soybean, which could be explained based on the presence of two distinct RNA1s in the same plant. This conclusion was supported by the finding that pseudo-recombinants constructed with two diverse RNA1s induced very severe symptoms on soybean that mimicked those produced by the naturally occurring partial diploids. No enhancement of symptom severity was observed with pseudorecombinants constructed with closely related RNA1s. Likewise, no enhancement of symptom severity was noted with pseudo-recombinants that are diploid for RNA2 and haploid for RNA1. The potential role of genetic reassortment in the epidemiology and pathogenesis of BPMV is discussed.

© 2007 The American Phytopathological Society