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First Report of Little cherry virus 2 from Sweet Cherry in Poland

September 2008 , Volume 92 , Number  9
Pages  1,366.1 - 1,366.1

B. Komorowska and M. Cieślińska, Department of Plant Protection, Research Institute of Pomology and Floriculture, Pomologiczna 18, 96-100 Skierniewice, Poland

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Accepted for publication 19 June 2008.

Little cherry disease (LChD) is a serious viral disease of sweet (Prunus avium) and sour (P. cerasus) cherry trees. Infection of sensitive cultivars results in small, angular, and pointed fruits with reduced sweetness. In late summer, leaves show a characteristic red coloration or bronzing of the surfaces. One Ampelovirus species, Little cherry virus 2 (LChV-2) (2), and one unassigned species in the Closteroviridae, Little cherry virus 1 (LChV-1) (3), have been associated with LChD. Twenty-seven sour and sweet cherry trees of six varieties from orchards located in several regions of Poland were tested for LChV-1 and LChV-2. Leaf samples were taken either from trees showing fruit symptoms or from asymptomatic trees during the summer of the 2006 growing season. RNA was isolated from the leaves with an RNeasy Kit (Qiagen, Hilden, CA), and reverse transcription (RT)-PCR was performed using primer pairs LCV1U/LCV1L and LCV2UP2/LCV2LO2, which are specific for a 419-bp fragment of the LChV-1 3′ nontranslated region and a 438-bp fragment of the LChV-2 methyltransferase gene, respectively (1). The primer pair L2CPF (5′-GTTCGAAAGTGTTTCTTGAT-3′) and L2CPR (5′-GCAACAGAAAAACATATGACTCA-3′) was designed from existing LChV-2 sequences (GenBank Accession Nos. AF416335 and NC_005065) to amplify the entire LChV-2 coat protein (CP) gene (nucleotides 13,007 to 14,134). The amplified cDNA fragments of LChV-2 genome were ligated to the bacterial vector pCR2.1-TOPO (Invitrogen, Carlsbad, CA), which was used to transform Escherichia coli TOP10 competent cells following the manufacturer's protocol. Both strands of three clones for each amplified LChV-2 genome fragment were sequenced with an automated nucleotide sequencer at the Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics in Warsaw. RT-PCR results showed that 6 of 27 trees were infected, with LChV-1 detected in five sweet cherry trees and LChV-2 singly infecting one sweet cherry tree cv Elton (isolate C4/14). The nucleotide sequence of the 438-bp methyltransferase gene fragment of isolate C4/14 showed 86, 85, and 84% identity to GenBank Accession Nos. AF333237, AF531505, and AJ430056, respectively, all previously reported LChV-2 sequences from cherry trees. Sequence analysis of the 1,088-bp coat protein gene showed 89 to 91% and 92 to 93% nucleotide and amino acid identity, respectively, with the aforementioned three LChV-2 isolates. The tree infected with LChV-2 was indexed by graft transmission to the woody indicator, Prunus avium cv. Canindex, which showed reddening of the leaves characteristic of LChD 3 months after inoculation. Since cherry production in Poland is 230,000 t per year, the disease may have a significant economic impact because the affected fruits are unsuitable either for consumption or sale. To our knowledge, this is the first report of LChV-2 in Poland.

References: (1) M. E. Rott and W. Jelkmann. Phytopathology 91:261, 2001. (2) M. E. Rott and W. Jelkmann. Arch. Virol. 150:107, 2005. (3) M. Vitushkina et al. Eur. J. Plant Pathol. 103:803, 1997.

© 2008 The American Phytopathological Society