All authors: Center for Grapevine Biotechnology, William H. Darr School of Agriculture, Missouri State University, Mountain Grove 65711; and fourth and fifth authors: Division of Plant Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia 65211.
Grapevine vein clearing virus (GVCV) is a new badnavirus in the family Caulimoviridae that is closely associated with an emerging vein-clearing and vine decline disease in the Midwest region of the United States. It has a circular, double-stranded DNA genome of 7,753 bp that is predicted to encode three open reading frames (ORFs) on the plus-strand DNA. The largest ORF encodes a polyprotein that contains domains for a reverse transcriptase (RT), an RNase H, and a DNA-binding zinc-finger protein (ZF). In this study, two genomic regions, a 570-bp region of the RT domain and a 540-bp region of the ZF domain were used for an analysis of the genetic diversity of GVCV populations. In total, 39 recombinant plasmids were sequenced. These plasmids consisted of three individual clones from each of 13 isolates sampled from five grape varieties in three states. The sequence variants of GVCV could not be phylogenetically grouped into clades according to geographical location and grape variety. Codons of RT or ZF regions are subject to purifying selection pressure. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction assays indicated that GVCV accumulates abundantly in the petioles and least in the root tip tissue. Upon grafting of GVCV-infected buds onto four major grape cultivars, GVCV was not detected in the grafted ‘Chambourcin’ vine but was present in the grafted ‘Vidal Blanc’, ‘Cayuga White’, and ‘Traminette’ vines, suggesting that Chambourcin is resistant to GVCV. Furthermore, seven nucleotides were changed in the sequenced RT and ZF regions of GVCV from a grafted Traminette vine and one in the sequenced regions of GVCV from grafted Cayuga White but no changes were found in the sequenced regions of GVCV in the grafted Vidal Blanc. The results provide a genetic snapshot of GVCV populations, which will yield knowledge important for monitoring GVCV epidemics and for preventing the loss of grape production that is associated with GVCV.