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Cucurbit leaf curl virus, a New Whitefly Transmitted Geminivirus in Arizona, Texas, and Mexico

July 2000 , Volume 84 , Number  7
Pages  809.1 - 809.1

J. K. Brown , A. M. Idris , Department of Plant Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson 85721 ; M. W. Olsen , Department of Plant Pathology, University of Arizona, Tucson 85721 ; M. E. Miller , Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Texas A&M University, Weslaco 78596 ; T. Isakeit , Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Texas A&M University, College Station 77843 ; and J. Anciso , Texas Agricultural Extension Service, Edinburg 78540

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Accepted for publication 18 April 2000.

In 1998 to 1999, geminivirus-like symptoms were observed in whitefly-infested pumpkin, honeydew melon, and muskmelon in Arizona and Texas and in Coahuilla, Mexico (MX), respectively. Plants exhibited leaf curl and/or mottling, reminiscent of symptoms caused by Squash leaf curl virus (SLCV-WAZ) described from Arizona in 1981 (2). The isolate from Arizona pumpkin fields was experimentally transmitted to pumpkin seedlings by the “B type” of Bemisia tabaci (Genn.), and symptoms were indistinguishable from those observed in infected fields. Samples from AZ, MX, and TX were assessed for begomovirus presence by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using degenerate primers that amplify a contiguous fragment containing the viral coat protein (Cp) gene and common region (CR) of the A component (CR-A) (~2,100 bp) and a fragment containing the CR of the B component (CR-B) (~1,100 bp). One to four isolates from each location were examined by PCR using both primer pairs, and at least three amplicons per isolate were cloned and their sequences determined. Alignment of viral Cp nucleotide (nt) sequences revealed that AZ [AF256199], MX, and TX field isolates shared 98.7 to 100% sequence identity, but were only 84.5 to 85.6% identical to the Cp gene of SLCV-extended (SLCV-E) [M38183] and SLCV-restricted (SLCV-R) (S. G. Lazarowitz, unpublished), respectively, suggesting a new, previously undescribed begomoviral species (3). Further, the Cp nt sequence of the three field isolates was 6 nt shorter than SLCV-E, SLCV-WAZ [AF256203], and SLCV-R Cp sequences. The CR-A [AF256200] and CR-B [AF256201] sequences (179 nt, each) of field isolates, including the theoretical Rep binding element, GGTGT, were 100% identical. Although the Rep binding site is identical among field isolates, SLCV-E, SLCV-R, and SLCV-WAZ, the field isolate CR sequence shared only 64.2, 67.5, and 66.9% overall identity with CR-A SLCV-E, SLCV-R [M63155], and SLCV-WAZ [AF256202], respectively. Prior to 1998 to 1999, SLCV-WAZ was the only New World begomovirus of cucurbits known to infect both melon (Cucumis) and pumpkin (Cucurbita) (1). Therefore, SLCV was initially suspected as the causal agent. However, here we provide evidence for a new, previously undescribed bipartite begomovirus of cucurbits in AZ, MX, and TX that is herein provisionally designated Cucurbit leaf curl virus (CuLCV). Prediction of its closest begomovirus relatives by Cp nt sequence and Rep binding site comparisons suggest that CuLCV is a new member of the SLCV lineage, also containing Bean calico mosaic virus, Cabbage leaf curl virus, SLCV-E, and Texas pepper virus-TAM.

References: (1) J. K. Brown and M. R. Nelson. Phytopathology 74:1136, 1984. (2) J. K. Brown and M. R. Nelson. Ann. Appl. Biol. 115:243, 1986. (3) M. A. Mayo and C. R. Pringle. J. Gen. Virol. 97:649, 1998.

© 2000 The American Phytopathological Society