In the spring of 2008, more than a dozen, aphid-infested, anemone plants (Anemone sp.) grown at the campus of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville showed stunting and mosaic, whereas only two were asymptomatic. Leaf homogenates from four symptomatic plants were inoculated onto Nicotiana benthamiana that became stunted and developed severe mosaic approximately 7 days postinoculation, whereas buffer-inoculated plants remained asymptomatic. Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) extraction (4) from symptomatic anemone revealed the presence of four predominant bands of approximately 3.2, 2.9, 2.2, and 0.9 kbp, a pattern indicative of cucumovirus infection. Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) is the only cucumovirus reported in anemone in Europe (2) and Israel (3), and for this reason, anemone and N. benthamiana plants were tested by Protein A ELISA with antisera against CMV developed by H. A. Scott. ELISA verified the presence of CMV in symptomatic anemone and inoculated N. benthamiana, while asymptomatic plants were free of the virus. Using cucumovirus degenerate primers, essentially as described by Choi et al. (1), a region of approximately 940 bases that includes the complete coat protein gene of the virus was amplified from symptomatic anemone and N. benthamiana but not asymptomatic plants of either species. This anemone isolate (GenBank Accession No. FJ375723) belongs to the IA subgroup of CMV because it shares 99% nucleotide and 100% amino acid sequence identities with the Fny isolates of the virus. To my knowledge, this is the first report of CMV infecting anemone in the United States and an important discovery for the ornamental industry since anemone is commonly grown together with several ornamental hosts of CMV in nursery and garden settings.
References: (1) S. K. Choi et al. J. Virol. Methods 83:67, 1999. (2) M. Hollings. Ann. Appl. Biol. 45:44, 1957 (3) G. Loebenstein. Acta Hortic. 722:31, 2006 (4) I. E. Tzanetakis and R. R. Martin, J. Virol. Methods 149:167, 2008.