IVIC, Centro de Microbiología y Biología Celular, Laboratorio de Virus de Plantas, Apdo Postal 21827, Caracas 1020A, Venezuela
Poinsettia mosaic virus (PnMV), a putative member of the tymoviruses, was detected in several cultivars of vegetatively propagated poinsettias grown in commercial nurseries in Estado Miranda, Venezuela. Symptoms associated with the affected plants consisted of severe mottling and distortion of leaves and bracteoles. The suspect virus was mechanically transmitted to Nicotiana benthamiana. Leaf extracts and thin sections of affected leaf tissue were analyzed by transmission electron microscopy. Spherical virus particles (30 nm diameter) were observed in samples from symptomatic poinsettia plants. Ultrastructural analyses of virus-infected cells revealed aggregates of virus particles in the cytoplasm and central vacuole. The virus was purified twice from infected N. benthamiana, resulting in yields as high as 12 mg/100 g. Dissociated coat protein contained a single 24-kDa protein species. The virus was not serologically related to Carnation mottle, Bean rugose mosaic, Cowpea mosaic, Cucumber mosaic, Pea enation mosaic, Prunus necrotic ringspot, Apple mosaic, Tobacco streak, Maize rayado fino, Tomato ringspot, Bean southern mosaic, Sowbane mosaic, Andean potato latent, Belladona mottle, Scrophularia or Turnip yellow mosaic viruses, but did react positively in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and western blot analysis with antiserum (ATCC PVAS-476) to PnMV. Based on these results, the virus is considered to be PnMV. To our knowledge, this is the first report of PnMV infecting poinsettias in Venezuela.