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Molecular Characterization, Ecology, and Epidemiology of a Novel Tymovirus in Asclepias viridis from Oklahoma

February 2012 , Volume 102 , Number  2
Pages  166 - 176

Byoung-Eun Min, Tracy S. Feldman, Akhtar Ali, Graham Wiley, Vijay Muthukumar, Bruce A. Roe, Marilyn Roossinck, Ulrich Melcher, Michael W. Palmer, and Richard S. Nelson

First, second, seventh, and tenth authors: Plant Biology Division, Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc., Ardmore, OK 73401; third author: Department of Biological Science, The University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK 74104; fourth and sixth authors: Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Oklahoma, Norman 73019; fifth and eighth authors: Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and ninth author: Department of Botany, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater 74078.

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Accepted for publication 22 September 2011.

Native virus–plant interactions require more understanding and their study will provide a basis from which to identify potential sources of emerging destructive viruses in crops. A novel tymovirus sequence was detected in Asclepias viridis (green milkweed), a perennial growing in a natural setting in the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve (TGPP) of Oklahoma. It was abundant within and frequent among A. viridis plants and, to varying extents, within other dicotyledonous and one grass (Panicum virgatum) species obtained from the TGPP. Extracts from A. viridis containing the sequence were infectious to a limited number of species. The virus genome was cloned and determined to be closely related to Kennedya yellow mosaic virus. The persistence of the virus within the Oklahoma A. viridis population was monitored for five successive years. Virus was present in a high percentage of plants within representative areas of the TGPP in all years and was spreading to additional plants. Virus was present in regions adjacent to the TGPP but not in plants sampled from central and south-central Oklahoma. Virus was present in the underground caudex of the plant during the winter, suggesting overwintering in this tissue. The RNA sequence encoding the virus coat protein varied considerably between individual plants (≈3%), likely due to drift rather than selection. An infectious clone was constructed and the virus was named Asclepias asymptomatic virus (AsAV) due to the absence of obvious symptoms on A. viridis.

Additional keyword: Apocynaceae, Tymoviridae.

© 2012 The American Phytopathological Society