M. E. Gratsia and
P. E. Kyriakopoulou, Department of Crop Science, Laboratory of Plant Pathology, Agricultural University of Athens, Iera Odos 75, Athens 11855, Greece;
A. E. Voloudakis, Laboratory of Plant Breeding and Biometry, Agricultural University of Athens, Iera Odos 75, Athens 11855, Greece;
C. Fasseas, Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, Laboratory of Electron Microscopy, Agricultural University of Athens, Iera Odos 75, Athens 11855, Greece; and
I. E. Tzanetakis, Department of Plant Pathology, Division of Agriculture, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville 72701
Uncommon, viruslike symptoms (yellowing, line patterns, leaf deformation, and necrosis), were observed in spinach fields in the Marathon area, Greece in 2004. Seedlings from the same seed lot, grown in the greenhouse, also developed the same viruslike symptoms, indicating that the causal agent(s) of the disorder is seed-transmissible. Spinach seedlings of the same variety but a different lot and herbaceous indicators (Chenopodium quinoa, C. amaranticolor, Sonchus oleraceus, and Nicotiana benthamiana) were mechanically inoculated with infected material. Spinach developed yellowing or necrotic spots whereas indicators showed variety of symptoms including mosaic, vein banding, and necrotic lesions. Virus purifications, double-stranded RNA extractions, cloning, and sequencing (2,3) followed by a combination of molecular (reverse transcription [RT]-PCR and immunocapture RT-PCR) and serological (ELISA) techniques with antisera provided by Dr. Avgelis were performed as described (4), verifying the presence of two viruses in the diseased seedlings: Sowbane mosaic virus (SoMV), a sobemovirus, was present in spinach and indicators with mottling and leaf deformation, whereas Olive mild mosaic virus (OMMV), a necrovirus, was present in plants with necrotic spots. All RT-PCR products amplified with primers SoMV-F (5′-CAAATGGTCTTGGTCAGCAGTC)/SoMV-R (5′-GCATACGCTCGACGATCTG) and OMMV-F (5′-CAAACCCAGCCTGTGTTCGATG)/OMMV-R (5′-CATCAGTTTGGTAATCCATTGA) were sequenced and found to confirm the other results. The SoMV-spinach isolate polyprotein gene sequence (GenBank Accession No. DQ450973) has 95% sequence identity with the type isolate from C. quinoa (GenBank Accession No. GQ845002), whereas the OMMV-spinach isolate (GenBank Accession No. JQ288895) has 92% sequence identity with the OMMV type isolate from olive (GenBank Accession No. AY616760). SoMV has been found to naturally infect spinach in the Netherlands (1) and, to our knowledge, this is the first report on spinach in Greece. The presence of OMMV in spinach is, to our knowledge, the first report worldwide. Its natural host range is limited to olive, tulip, and now spinach. OMMV might be transmitted by Olpidium spp. and may, according to data of its close relatives, persist in the soil for several decades. Pollen- and seedborne viruses (PSVs) like sobemoviruses and necroviruses are of particular importance for a crop like spinach where crop increase takes place in small, seed production-designated areas. If a PSV spreads in such an area it has the potential to become a major problem for the industry, especially when it remains undetected. Infected seed can be shipped worldwide with PSVs, causing diseases and becoming endemic in areas where they were absent. For this reason and the fact that field losses can exceed 50%, rigorous monitoring for the presence of SoMV and OMMV in seed fields is essential to minimize the possibility of the viruses moving to new areas.
References: (1) L. Bos and N. Huijberts. Eur. J. Plant Pathol. 102:707, 1996. (2) S. M. Girgis et al., Eur. J. Plant Pathol. 125:203, 2009, (3) I. E. Tzanetakis et al. J. Virol. Methods 124:73, 2005. (4) I. E. Tzanetakis et al. Virus Res. 121:199, 2006.