B. E. L.
Department of Plant Pathology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul 55108
Institute for Biochemistry and Plant Virology, Biologische Bundesanstalt, D-38104 Braunschweig, Germany
Petunia vein-clearing virus (PVCV), a tentative member of the caulimovirus group of plant pararetroviruses, was first identified in petunia (Petunia hybrida Vilm.) in Germany in the hybrid cv. Himmelröschen (1). A similar virus was recently identified in Minnesota in the petunia cv. Fantasy Pink grown from seed in commercial greenhouses. This virus has spherical particles 46 to 47 nm in diameter in preparations negatively stained with 1% uranyl acetate or sodium phosphotungstate, pH 7.0, and which contain a double-stranded DNA genome approximately 7.3 kb in size. The virus was shown by immunoelectron microscopy (IEM) to be closely related serologically to PVCV. No serological relationship to any other caulimoviruses was detected. Like PVCV, which is transmitted only by seed and grafting, the Minnesota virus isolate was not transmitted by mechanical inoculation to petunia or any other indicator plant. Symptoms associated with infection by PVCV in cv. Fantasy Pink consisted of mild vein clearing to severe vein yellowing, and reduction in leaf size and internode length. Symptoms were most frequently expressed when plants were under water and nutrient stress. Vigorously growing plants usually showed no symptoms, and no virions were detected by IEM in partially purified extracts from such plants. This suggests that infection of petunia hybrids by seed-borne PVCV may possibly be more widespread, but may go unnoticed because virus-induced symptoms may not be elicited in plants growing under favorable conditions.
References: (1) D. Lesemann and R. Casper. Phytopathology 63:1118, 1973.