Floral and Nursery Plant Research Unit, U.S. National Arboretum, ARS, USDA, Beltsville, MD 20705
Extension Plant Pathology, Oregon State University, Corvallis 97331
Verbena × hybrida is an ornamental annual used in rock gardens as an edging plant and hanging baskets. It comes in a variety of colors and grows approximately 1.5 to 2.5 cm (6 to 10 inches) high. In the spring of 2002, verbena cv. Lavender Shades plants from California showing leaf mosaic symptoms tested positive for potyvirus using an antigen-coated plate enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay with our genus Potyvirus broad spectrum reacting PTY-1 monoclonal as the detecting antibody (3). The virus was transmitted mechanically to Nicotiana benthamiana by sap inoculation from infected verbena plants. Infected tobacco showed systemic mild mosaic symptoms. Total RNA extractions from infected verbena and tobacco leaves were used in reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays with generic potyvirus-specific primers that amplify highly conserved 700-bp or 1,600-bp fragments from the 3′ terminus of most potyviruses. This region includes the 3′ noncoding region (3′NCR) and the potyviral coat protein (CP). The PCR-amplified fragments were cloned by using standard TA cloning procedures and sequenced using dye-terminator chemistry. The cloned nucleotide and putative coat protein amino acid sequences from the infected verbena and tobacco plants were compared with the corresponding regions of other potyviruses. Amino acid comparison of the CP region of the verbena po-tyvirus showed 95 to 96% identity to four pea mosaic strains (PMV) of Bean yellow mosaic virus (BYMV), 85 to 89% identity to 20 other strains of BYMV, 74 to 76% identity with six strains of Clover yellow vein virus (CYVV), and only 50 to 64% identity with 28 other potyviruses. Pairwise comparisons among and between the CP sequences of PMV, BYMV, CYVV, and other potyviruses revealed identities of 92 to 99% for BYMV∷
BYMV, PMV∷PMV, and CYVV∷CYVV; 84 to 89% for BYMV∷
PMV, 69 to 78% for BYMV∷CYVV and PMV∷CYVV, and 50 to 64% for all other potyvirus combinations. Additionally, similar pairwise analysis of the 3′NCR of the verbena potyvirus revealed 98 to 99% identity to PMV strains, 81 to 94% to other BYMVs, 68 to 75% to CYVVs, and 52 to 64% with other potyviruses. Other 3′NCR pairwise comparisons generally revealed the same identity trend as described for the CP. Further serological analysis with our panel of BYMV-specific, BYMV-subgroup, and potyvirus cross-reactive monoclonal antibodies (3) confirmed the designation of the verbena potyvirus isolate as a pea mosaic strain of BYMV. To our knowledge this is the first confirmed report of BYMV-pea mosaic strain in Verbena (1,2).
References: (1) Agdia, Inc. Positive Ornamental Plant Samples. Agdia On-line Publication, 2003. (2) A. A. Brunt et al. Verbena hybrida. Plant Viruses Online: Descriptions and Lists from the VIDE Database. Version 20. On-line publication, August 1996. (3) R. L. Jordan, and J. Hammond. J. Gen. Virol. 72:1531, 1991.