B. S. M. Lebas,
F. M. Ochoa-Corona, and
B. J. R. Alexander, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, P.O. Box 2095, Auckland 1140, New Zealand;
R. A. Lister,
J. D. F. Fletcher, and
S. L. Bithell, Crop and Food Research, Private Bag 4704, Christchurch, New Zealand; and
G. M. Burnip, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, P.O. Box 14018, Christchurch 8544, New Zealand
In August of 2005, seeds of wheat (Triticum aestivum) breeding line 6065.3 tested positive for Wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV; genus Tritimovirus) by a WSMV-specific reverse transcription (RT)-PCR assay (2). The sequence of the 200-bp amplicon (GenBank Accession No. FJ434246) was 99% identical with WSMV isolates from Turkey and the United States (GenBank Accession Nos. AF454455 and AF057533) and 96 to 97% identical to isolates from Australia (GenBank Accession Nos. DQ888801 to DQ888805 and DQ462279), which belong to the subclade D (1). As a result, an extensive survey of three cereal experimental trials and 105 commercial wheat crops grown on the South Island of New Zealand was conducted during the 2005--2006 summer to determine the distribution of WSMV. Wherever possible, only symptomatic plants were collected. Symptoms on wheat leaf samples ranged from very mild mosaic to symptomless. In total, 591 leaf samples suspected to be symptomatic were tested for WSMV by a double-antibody sandwich (DAS)-ELISA (DSMZ, Braunschweig, Germany). Of the 591 symptomatic samples, 81 tested positive. ELISA results were confirmed by RT-PCR with novel forward (WSMV-F1; 5′-TTGAGGATTTGGAGGAAGGT-3′) and reverse (WSMV-R1; 5′-GGATGTTGCCGAGTTGATTT-3′) primers designed to amplify a 391-nt fragment encoding a region of the P3 and CI proteins. Total RNA was extracted from the 81 ELISA-positive leaf samples using the Plant RNeasy Kit (Qiagen Inc., Chatsworth, CA). The expected size fragment was amplified from each of the 81 ELISA-positive samples. The positive samples represent 30 of 56 wheat cultivars (54%) collected from 28 of 108 sites (26%) sampled in the growing regions from mid-Canterbury to North Otago. These results suggest that WSMV is widespread in New Zealand both geographically and within cultivars. WSMV is transmitted by the wheat curl mite (Aceria tosichella) (3), which had not been detected in New Zealand despite repeated and targeted surveys. WSMV is of great economic importance in some countries, where the disease has been reported to cause total yield loss (3). Although WSMV is transmitted by seeds at low rates (0.1 to 0.2%) (4), it is the most likely explanation of the spread of the disease in New Zealand.
References: (1) G. I. Dwyer et al. Plant Dis. 91:164, 2007. (2) R. French and N. L. Robertson. J. Virol. Methods 49:93, 1994. (3) R. French and D. C. Stenger. Descriptions of Plant Viruses. Online publication. No. 393, 2002. (4) R. A. C. Jones et al. Plant Dis. 89:1048, 2005.