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Development and Application of a Multiplex Reverse-Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction Assay for Screening a Global Collection of Citrus tristeza virus Isolates

October 2010 , Volume 100 , Number  10
Pages  1,077 - 1,088

Avijit Roy, G. Ananthakrishnan, John S. Hartung, and R. H. Brlansky

First, second, and fourth authors: University of Florida, IFAS, Citrus Research and Education Center, Plant Pathology, 700 Experiment Station Road, Lake Alfred 33850-2299; and third author: United States Department of Agriculture--Agricultural Research Service, MPPL, Beltsville, MD.

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Accepted for publication 7 June 2010.

The emerging diversity of Citrus tristeza virus (CTV) genotypes has complicated detection and diagnostic measures and prompted the search for new differentiation methods. To simplify the identification and differentiation of CTV genotypes, a multiplex reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technique for the screening of CTV isolates was developed. Variable regions within the open reading frame (ORF)-1a of diverse CTV genotypes were identified to develop first a simplex (S) and then a hexaplex (H) RT-PCR. CTV isolates have been grouped previously into five genotypes (namely, T3, T30, T36, VT, and B165) based on the nucleotide sequence comparisons and phylogenetic analyses. Nucleotide sequences from GenBank were used to design species and genotype-specific primers (GSPs). The GSPs were initially used for reliable detection of all CTV genotypes using S-RT-PCR. Furthermore, detection of all five recognized CTV genotypes was established using the H-RT-PCR. Six amplicons, one generic to all CTV isolates and one for each of the five recognized genotypes, were identified on the basis of their size and were confirmed by sequence analysis. In all, 175 CTV isolates from 29 citrus-growing countries were successfully analyzed by S- and H-RT-PCR. Of these, 97 isolates contained T36 genotypes, 95 contained T3 genotypes, 76 contained T30 genotypes, 71 contained VT genotypes, and 24 contained B165 genotype isolates. In total, 126 isolates contained mixed infections of 2 to 5 of the known CTV genotypes. Two of the CTV isolates could not be assigned to a known genotype. H-RT-PCR provides a sensitive, specific, reliable, and rapid way to screen for CTV genotypes compared with other methods for CTV genotype detection. Efficient identification of CTV genotypes will facilitate a better understanding of CTV isolates, including the possible interaction of different genotypes in causing or preventing diseases. The methods described can also be used in virus-free citrus propagation programs and in the development of CTV-resistant cultivars.

© 2010 The American Phytopathological Society