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First Report of Turnip mosaic virus in Tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica) in California

February 2012 , Volume 96 , Number  2
Pages  296.1 - 296.1

H.-Y. Liu, USDA-ARS, Salinas, CA 93905; S. T. Koike, University of California Cooperative Extension, Salinas, CA 93901; and D. Xu and R. Li, USDA-ARS, National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, MD 20705

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Accepted for publication 19 October 2011.

Tomatillo is an important vegetable in Mexican cuisine. It is of Mesoamerica origin and now is grown widely in the Western Hemisphere. In 2011, 2% of commercially grown tomatillo plants in San Benito County, California exhibited severe stunting with foliage showing mosaic symptoms and leaf distortion. The fruits on infected plants were mottled and unmarketable. Flexuous filamentous-shaped virus particles of 800 to 850 nm long and 11 to 12 nm wide were observed from sap of the symptomatic plants with a transmission electron microscope. Sap from the diseased tomatillo plants reacted positively in an immunostrip assay for potyvirus (Agdia Inc., Elkhart, IN), indicating a potyvirus was associated with the disease. The causal agent was mechanically transmitted from the diseased field plants to six virus-free greenhouse tomatillo plants and all inoculated plants induced identical symptoms. The causal agent was also transmitted to Chenopodium quinoa and C. murale (chlorotic local lesions) and Nicotiana clevelandii, N. tabacum, and Physalis wrightii (systemic symptoms). The disease was also transmitted to tomatillo plants by the green peach aphid (Myzus persicae) in a nonpersistent manner (1-min acquisition access period and 1-min transmission access period with no latent period). To further identify the causal agent, total nucleic acids were extracted by a cetyltrimethylammoniumbromide (CTAB) method (2) and tested by reverse transcription-PCR using potyvirus degenerate primers CIFor and CIRev (1). An amplicon of approximately 700 bp from the diseased tomatillo was cloned and sequenced. Analysis of the 631-bp partial CI sequence (GenBank Accession No. JN601884) showed that the virus had 93.6% nucleotide identity and 100% amino acid identity with cognate regions of Turnip mosaic virus (TuMV) (GenBank Accession No. D10927). Our results indicated that the disease was caused by TuMV. To our knowledge, this is the first report of TuMV in tomatillo. Since TuMV has a wide host range and is readily transmitted by green peach aphids, TuMV could be a new threat to tomatillo production in California.

References: (1) C. Ha et al. Arch. Virol. 153:25, 2008. (2) R. Li et al. J. Virol. Methods 154:48, 2008.

© 2012 The American Phytopathological Society